Donald Trump’s current position in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary is much stronger than his lone opponent, Nikki Haley, but if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joins the 2024 GOP field as expected, then the residents of Miami and Tampa may ultimately cast some of the most crucial votes in the entire 2024 GOP Primary campaign. Political pundits and insiders continue to cite reports from inside sources that are insisting that DeSantis will officially declare his candidacy after the Florida Legislature completes its 2023 session the month of May.
Both Tampa and Miami have high proportions of Hispanic Republican voters, which helped DeSantis flip Hillsborough County and Miami-Dade from Democrat to Republican in the 2022 Midterm Election. In that election, DeSantis won 57% of the Hispanic vote, compared with 42% for Democrat Charlie Crist, with DeSantis winning not only the traditionally GOP-leaning Cuban-American vote, but Puerto Ricans, who historically tend to vote Democratic.
DeSanti’s15-point edge with Hispanics is a huge reversal from 2020, when 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. He also won in other former Democratic strongholds such as Palm Beach One of the most important demographics DeSantis won was female voters, a group Trump lost in Florida. DeSantis also won 52 percent of independent voters.
Trump’s disapproval ratings are much higher than DeSantis in Florida, with 55 percent of voters having unfavorable views of Trump, compared to 35 percent for DeSantis, and 18 percent of Republicans have negative opinions of the ex-president versus 9% for the Florida governor.
If Trump can’t improve his standing with college educated voters, suburban moms or younger voters, he could potentially lose the Sunshine State, which is a winner-take-all primary. If a loss in Florida was coupled with DeSantis winning another early battleground state such as Iowa, Trump could find himself in a much different position than in 2016, when he won Florida by a wide margin, and cruised through Super Tuesday.