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Can Trump finally win Miami-Dade County? An early poll highlights Democratic worries

Douglas Hanks and Max Greenwood, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

MIAMI — Democrats in Miami-Dade County face the kind of unsettling possibility they hoped had died with the Ron DeSantis presidential campaign: Joe Biden losing a county that’s gone blue by a comfortable margin since the 1980s, and dragging local Democrats down with him.

A November poll by the reelection effort for Democratic Mayor Daniella Levine Cava spelled out how much the landscape had shifted since Donald Trump lost Miami-Dade by 7 points to Biden in 2020. The phone and text survey of 500 likely voters by EMC Research found Biden the choice of just 35% of the respondents, compared to 46% for Trump.

The poll forecasts a political headwind for Democrats running for a countywide positions on the ballot for the first time, like sheriff, and reinforces the perspective that Florida is a reach for the president’s reelection campaign.

“Unlike the last 30 years, I don’t think we can say in 2024 that Miami-Dade is definitely a blue county. If anything, it’s a purple county in a state that’s leaning toward — if it’s not outright — Republican,” said Fernand Amandi, a Democratic pollster and analyst who advised former President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 campaign in Florida. “To deny that this has happened in Dade over the last six years is to deny political reality.”

The results at the top of the ticket could have more local consequences than in any other presidential year, given a state mandate to hold partisan elections for three county positions that currently report to Levine Cava.

Those posts — sheriff, elections supervisor and tax collector — will be on the same ballot as Trump and Biden, each with the candidates identified by party.

 

“Those races will probably go the way of the presidential,” said Kevin Cabrera, a Republican county commissioner who served as the state director of Trump’s Florida campaign in 2020. “I think President Trump will win Miami-Dade and usher in Republicans for those countywide races.”

So far, presidential worries don’t translate to the senior Democrat in the county: Levine Cava, who holds a non-partisan office and can win reelection in August if she gets more than 50% of the vote during a countywide primary. The November survey showed her polling above 60% with voters, even with a 54% unfavorable rating from county Republicans.

A win in Miami-Dade County for Trump would come eight years after he lost the state’s most populous county by 300,000 votes to Hillary Clinton but still managed to win Florida.

Since then, the trends have shown GOP momentum here as Trump used his four years as president to win over Cuban-American voters and shift his role from Republican insurgent to the undisputed leader of the Republican Party. His 2020 loss to Biden in Miami-Dade was the closest since county voters favored John Kerry over George W. Bush by 6 points in 2004.

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