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Fox News host Mark Levin and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Sunday they believe President Donald Trump’s chances of winning his home state again in a few weeks are better than they were when he took the Sunshine State from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton four years ago.
Noting that Florida is a “key state” for presidential contenders, Levin noted that the two prior Republican “establishment” presidential nominees — the late Sen. John McCain in 2008 and now-Sen. Mitt Romney in 2012 — lost there before Trump managed to eke out a victory in 2016.
“How does it look in Florida right now?” Levin asked.
DeSantis, a former U.S. congressman, began by pointing out that in 2016, “there were about 350,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans” in the state.
“Now, it’s less than 180,000 differential, and we think when all the books are finally in, we think it may be closer to 150,000,” DeSantis said. “So, whatever it is in that range, it’ll be the closest Republicans have ever been to Democrats in Florida in the history of the state.”
DeSantis credited part of the shift with his belief that Americans are moving there to escape high-tax, high-regulation states most often associated with Democratic governance.
“I do think that many of them are registering as Republicans,” the governor said.
“I think the president is facing an electorate that is more inclined to vote for him in 2020 than the one he…successfully convinced to vote for him in 2016,” DeSantis added.
To his point, the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab released a survey of likely voters last week showing the Trump is leading against Democratic nominee Joe Biden among the state’s heavy senior population, albeit by a lower percentage than he led against Clinton in 2016.
The survey said Trump was leading Biden 50-47 percent among likely voters 65 and older.
Levin noted there are indications that the president’s support among Florida’s large Hispanic community is rising as well, adding that the governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez Garced, has endorsed Trump as well.
“That’s going to be the biggest improvement” in turnout for the president among Florida Hispanics this year over 2016, he said.
“If you look at Miami-Dade County, he’s gonna probably cut the margin in half for his deficit against Hillary Clinton,” said the governor. “And that’s gonna be on the backs of a really unified and energized Cuban-American community, but also a lot of the things that he’s done that have resonated with our Venezuelan Americans” as well as others from Central and South America.
“I also think what’s helped him is how left-wing the Democratic Party has gone on a lot of these issues,” DeSantis continued, adding that “voters in South Florida are very sensitive” to that form of governance because either they or relatives who came to the U.S. before them escaped “left-wing dictators.”
The governor also said he believes Trump’s support in the state will also be boosted by Biden’s early indifference to widespread rioting across the country all summer, as well as running mate Sen. Kamala Harris’ tweeted support for a fund that raised millions to bail out protesters who were arrested for alleged criminal acts.
“They were almost cheering this on. That is simply unacceptable to many of those voters, and I think the president been in favor of law and order, and I think that that’s gonna pay dividends,” said the governor.
Last week, the Florida Police Chiefs Association made its first-ever presidential endorsement, electing to back President Trump.
“If you look at him winning Florida in 2016 with such a deficit in Miami-Dade — if you would have told anyone before the election the deficit was gonna be that big, they would say there’s no way he can win it,” DeSantis noted further, adding that Trump managed to bring out residents that had voted in the past.
Levin, who owns a home in Florida, added that he senses “a lot of excitement” in the state for the president.
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