Politicians Supporting COVID-19 Shutdowns Could Pay a Price at the Ballot Box in Florida

Earlier this year, pollsters found that the majority of voters in Florida and across the nation supported shutdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation released in April found that a majority of voters from all political persuasions supported the stay-at-home orders with 94 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans backing them.

But polling over the last few months reveals that voters may not be willing to go down that path again–or vote in favor of politicians that support more restrictions.

In August, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News that he would be open to the idea of another shutdown to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Biden is slightly ahead over President Donald Trump in almost every recent poll of Florida but the issue of another proposed shutdown may work against him.

In July, a Fox News survey found that 25 percent of Biden supporters would not vote for the former VP if businesses like restaurants were still closed down going into the election because of Covid. The poll found that would benefit the Trump campaign. However, much has changed since the survey was taken.

At the start of last month, Maslansky and Partners pollster Lee Carter surveyed independent voters and found Biden and other democrats losing support with the topic of another possible shutdown.

Political analyst and pollster Scott Rasmussen said voters have concerns about reopenings and shutdowns. But Rasmussen said his polls show that 60 percent of voters believe every business that establishes safe social distancing protocols should be allowed to open.

Some Florida Democrats have supported another shutdown.

In July, when cases of COVID-19 spiked, U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., who served as U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) called for another shutdown.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Democrat Nikki Fried has said on numerous times that Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t shut down the state economy quickly enough and has criticized him for reopening too quickly.

“Another shutdown in Florida? No way that’s going to happen especially going into the holiday season,” said political and media analyst Jamie Miller.

Miller pointed out that there have not been increases in the rate of infections, hospitalizations or death rates in Florida.

“And we’ve done it with fewer government restrictions,” said Miller.

Miller asked where have Democrats like Shala and Fried been lately when it comes to shutting down the state.

If cases of COVID-19 increase in Florida, a statewide shutdown isn’t needed, said Dr. William Mallon.

Mallon said county-by-county numbers need to be looked at.

“If cases of COVID increase in Orange County but, statewide. show a decrease, why would you shut down the entire state economy?” Mallon asked.

Shutdowns and restrictions have damaged Florida’s economy and Walt Disney World recently announced around 28,000 layoffs.

“Because of the shutdowns, Florida has witnessed a drop in tourism, lost of thousands of jobs including billions of dollars in tax revenues the state has to make up. With these negative effects, I don’t think voters are going to have the appetite for another shutdown,” said Steve Beaman, an economics analyst for Florida Daily.

 

Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.

 

 

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