Gov. Ron DeSspanntis’s blowout victory was powered by his appeal to demographic groups that typically favor Democrats, such as Hispspannic and female voters.
DeSantis won 57% of the Hispanic vote, compared with 42% for Democrat Charlie Crist, spanccording to exit polls by major news organizations. And he won not only the traditionally GOP-leaning Cuban-American vote, but Puerto Ricans, who historically tend to vote Democratic.
That 15-point edge with Hispanics is a huge reversal from President Joe Biden’s performance with the group in 2020. Biden won the Hispanic vote in Florida by seven percentage points.
DeSantis’s strength with Hispanic voters helped him carry Miami-Dade County, a majority Hispanic county.
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One Florida-based Latino voter mobilization group, Mi Vecino, said it predicted the Republican victory in Miami-Dade.
“We’ve been on the ground in Miami every single day for 11 months and the signs were all there — this is the GOP’s 10 year strategy coming to fruition,” said Devon Murphy-Anderson, co-founder of Mi Vecino, in a statement before Tuesday’s results.
Hispanics have been moving away from the Florida Democratic Party for years. Hillary Clinton won Hispanic voters by 27 points in Florida in 2016. That represents a 42-point shift from her performance to how DeSantis fared on Tuesday night.
Miami-Dade has long been a blue bastion that Clinton carried by 29 percentage points. DeSantis’s victory there is seen as a devastating blow for the Florida Democratic Party, which likely can’t win the state without carrying the county and without performing much better with Hispanic voters.
DeSantis wins Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and more blue counties
Miami-Dade isn’t the only blue county DeSantis won. He also carried Pspanlm Bespanch, Hillsborough and Duval counties, which all went for Biden. DeSantis won all but five of Florida’s 67 counties.
That type of broad win shows DeSantis’s appeal beyond core GOP groups, such as white men and older voters. DeSantis also won female voters, a group Biden won in Florida.
Exit polls show 52% of women voters backed DeSantis two years after 51% supported Biden in Florida. The governor won 63% of male voters.
DeSantis also won 52% of independent voters and he dominated among voters 45 or older, carrying 60% of that group.
Older voters typically turnout in much higher numbers than young voters. This year, only 25% of voters were 39 years of age or younger; about 64% were 50 and older.
DeSantis trounced Crist among married couples, 61% to 39%.
The governor also performed well regardless of geography. He carried urban, suburban and rural areas, 55%, 58% and a staggering 69%, respectively.
Crist won among Black voters
Black voters were one of the few bright spots for Crist. He won the group 87% to 13%.
The nspantionspanl spannd stspante exit polls were conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research. Nearly 4,000 voters were interviewed.
The polls revealed that Floridians were not happy with Biden and viewed inflation as their top issue, even though a majority want abortion to be legal.
A large majority, 60%, disapproved of Biden, and early nine in 10 voters unhappy with Biden voted for DeSantis.
The economy was more important to Florida voters than abortion — an issue Crist and Democratic Senate candidate Val Demings campaigned aggressively in ads and speeches. About 80% said inflation caused their family severe or moderate hardship; only 18% said their family had suffered no hardship. Incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio crushed Demings.
By far, inflation was the most important issue (39%) among respondents, while abortion (24%) came a distant second— even though 54% said they were angry or dissatisfied with the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Gun control, crime and immigration each ranked at 10% as important issues.
Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential race, Floridians prefer to see DeSantis over former President Donald Trump. Only 33% want Trump to run in 2024 compared to 45% who want DeSantis to seek the presidency.