Florida Vote Weirdness

The votes for President and the ballot measures don't seem to line up.

The Sunshine State, which went down in American electoral infamy after the debacle that was the 2020 election, was called for President Trump shortly after I turned in in the wee hours. That’s not shocking; while I predicted that it would narrowly go the other way, the polls had it as a Trump squeaker.

But the same voters who put Trump over the top overwhelmingly voted for a ballot measure to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15. That would suggest a rather heavy Democratic lean in the electorate.

Indeed, the ballot measures don’t line up in any obvious-to-me way:

One presumes Amendment 1 was touted in a rather xenophobic manner but the titular concept is so banal that I’m a bit surprised a fifth of the electorate was opposed.

And I’m not sure what to make of the open primary result. I’m four-square opposed to the concept but it’s being marked as a win for No despite it getting a much lower percentage than Biden, who lost.

Florida. Go figure.

UPDATE: Yes, I’m being a sleepy policy wonk. No, people aren’t ideologically consistent.

Thanks, Garance.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jc says:

    The first one is just plain dumb. Should not have even been on there when you read about the change of “Every” to “Only”. It makes absolutely no difference at all and was completely unnecessary. Minimum wage makes sense as even if your are morally and mentally bankrupt making minimum wage ( a large portion of Trump voters) you of course would still vote to give yourself a raise. I would bet most did not even make it through reading the other, which did not pass.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida is a bit schizophrenic, a trait it shares with other red states like Misery.

    @Jc: Should not have even been on there when you read about the change of “Every” to “Only”.

    It, like most culture war issues, was on the ballot for the sole reason of driving up the xenophobe vote.

  3. Michael Cain says:

    It’s not uncommon among western states where ballot initiatives are common. For example, two years ago Utah passed all of medical marijuana, the ACA Medicaid expansion, and an independent redistricting commission. My own theory is that there are a number of policies that are supported by Democrats that enough red state voters are willing to pass, but won’t vote for Democrats because of the perceived baggage that comes with them: gun control, more access to abortion, the whole LBGTQ thing, etc. One of the leading indicators of when a western state is going to join the ongoing western swing towards the Democrats — something that’s been happening for 30 years now — is passage of those sorts of policies by initiative.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As they say: those rats won’t fck themselves.

  5. Pylon says:

    What’s weird is that in Miami there was an increase in 200K votes. And they all went Trump (Biden getting only the same as HRC did). That’s either crazy or corrupt.

  6. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I know Dems like policy but I’ve said it on this blog endless times that the average voter does not VOTE that way. They vote on image, vision, narratives, stories.

    Most of the policy talk at the Federal level is pretty esoteric to most people anyway–so it doesn’t register. This is how Republicans get away with criticizing policy by simply saying “Socialism!”

    Im most disappointed that we couldn’t get the One Ballot initiative over the finishing line. I though Biden’s chances here were sketchy anyway. A one point we had alot of transplants here from Democratic strongholds elsewhere—but frankly I think most of those people ended up re-relocating leaving us with transplants from rural areas of blue states.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    @Pylon: Not speaking from first-hand knowledge but the story in FL is that there was a tsunami of ‘misinformation’ (AKA lies) in the Spanish language radio and social media aimed at the Cuban/Venezuelan communities. Particularly the ‘socialist’ story.

  8. Andy says:

    Not everything neatly templates onto national politics.

    We had some of the same weirdness here in Colorado but it’s only weird for those who dont understand the state.

  9. Mu Yixiao says:

    Even “deep red” states are legalizing marijuana.

    Meanwhile Oregon went much farther.

    “Drugs are the winner in this election”

  10. Kathy says:

    I think America may be suffering from a kind of Christian Science form of economic malaise.

    Infamously, adherents to Christian Science eschew medical treatment in favor of prayer, which should lead to lots of premature deaths. They know they’re sick, there is medical help available, but they’d literally rather than die than take it. Or so I understand.

    America is suffering from massive inequality and stagnant wages, while the price of desirable things like college education and medical care rise out of reach. I think many, if not most, are aware of this. but the solution, which consists largely of policies they deem to be “socialist,” is seen as worse than the affliction.

    Or at the least, they won’t vote for the candidates and the party that proposes them.

  11. mattbernius says:

    Aside: my bet is much like Felony Renfrachisement, the FL Republicans are going to find some way to gut this ballot initiative through legislative “interpretation.”

  12. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: That’s fair. Hell, California is Deep Blue and yet voted down an affirmative action initiative.

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    My guess on Amendment 3 is that, since it is an amendment, it needs 60% approval. Anything above 40% makes “no” the winner.

    @mattbernius: When I saw that measure, my first thought was “okay, so the debate now shifts to who is and isn’t a citizen.” Fun times.

  14. Mu Yixiao says:

    Maine went full-blue for House seats, but one district went to Trump.

    Anyone know what’s going on there?

  15. gVOR08 says:

    The Dem sample ballots in FL recommended 2, 5, and 6. It is odd that except for 1, that’s how it went while Trump carried the state. Underlines the argument I made in a thread a couple days ago that people who identify as conservative often favor liberal policies.

    I think you’re right amendment 1 was intended to push turnout, like Karl Roves gay marriage initiatives of old. But mostly it was a living for a few activists for awhile. Long term, however, changing from “every citizen” to “only a citizen” makes voting in FL no longer a right guaranteed to every citizen by the state constitution. Expect more ratfwckery to follow.

  16. gVOR08 says:


  17. gVOR08 says:

    FYI @gVOR08: Got me the EDIT function so I could fix a fairly serious typo in @gVOR08:

  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    @James Joyner: You will note that it looks like partial repeal – for large commecial enterprises – of Prop 13 is looking like it’s losing, too.

    And yet CA went 2 to 1 for Biden. Why is that? Well, for four years, Trump has been using California as a punching bag for political purposes. The SALT limitation and the cap on mortgage interest deduction hit a lot of California Republicans where it hurt. I’m pretty sure it’s personal for them. The state is not 2 to 1 Republican on fiscal issues, not remotely. It’s just that Republican candidates come with so much other culture-war baggage, which they have to have to win a primary, that they can’t win statewide.

    The Affirmative Action thing surprised me a bit, too. I don’t really have an explanation. Maybe it’s the libertarians? (They can’t stand Trump, but would prefer less government interference) Prop 15 (partial Prop 13 repeal) may lose, but I’m actually encouraged that it came so close, and I’d like to see them try again in a few years.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    Oh, I just remembered something that might well be a factor in the affirmative action thing: White people are not a majority of Californians. They are not even a plurality. The state is 39% Latino, 37% white, 15% Asian, and 6% black, plus a smattering of other folks.

    That said, white people generally have more money, better jobs, better houses. But most groups are doing well, it seems.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “Drugs are the winner in this election”

    Drugs won the war a long time ago, now they’re winning elections. We’re just now surrendering to the reality.