Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has never been popular among LGBTQ advocates in Florida, but his recently waged culture war against the community has made him even more of an adversary. That could be a big problem for him in the upcoming midterm election, according to a new poll by GLAAD.
GLAAD’s polling found that over half of Florida’s LGBTQ and ally communities are concerned about DeSantis and other Florida lawmakers “stripping away” civil rights through legislation like the Parental Rights in Education, aka “Don’t Say Gay” law that went into effect last month.
77% of survey respondents “strongly agree it’s more important than ever to vote this year because ‘basic human rights for women and LGBTQ Floridians are starting to be taken away by elected officials currently in charge of Florida’s government.’”
GLAAD further reports that LGBTQ residents make up 4.6% of Florida’s total population, and its analysis says that could be enough to sway the governor’s race.
In the last gubernatorial race, DeSantis beat his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, by around 32,000 votes. 8.2 million people voted in that election, according to the Florida Department of State.
“In a midterm election where mobilizing turnout is critical (and challenging) for each side, Florida is poised to see a surge in voting participation by LGBTQ voters and LGBTQ allies who voted in the last Presidential election but not the last midterm,” the polling group, Pathfinder Opinion Research, said. “Both groups say they are even more motivated to vote in this midterm election than they were in the last Presidential election. In a tight governor’s race, like in 2018, turnout from these voters could be pivotal.”
Just this week, Kansas saw near-presidential-election-level turnout as voters took to the ballot box to protect abortion rights in the state. When there’s a pressing issue at play, voters tend to turn out.
“The governor’s race in Florida in 2018 was decided by only 32,463 votes out of 8+ million. The results of the poll suggest that LGBTQ and ally voters are positioned to be decisive in Florida this November if the governor’s race is similarly close,” GLAAD reported. “77% of LGBTQ and ally voters have an unfavorable opinion of Gov. DeSantis.”
“Florida’s LGBTQ voters and ally voters have grave concerns about their basic human rights, including access to abortion, freedom of speech, and evidence-based healthcare for LGBTQ youth,” GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, added. “They’re motivated to make a difference in this crucial election.”
According to GLAAD, 67% of Florida’s LGBTQ and allies are “extremely motivated” to vote in this year’s election.