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Biden Campaign Memo Claims Florida Is “Winnable” Though Polls Say Otherwise

The campaign took note of a six-week abortion ban in the state, as well as an initiative appearing on the fall ballot.

President Joe Biden speaks at a Democratic National Committee event at the Howard Theatre on October 18, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Despite some tough odds pitted against them, the campaign team for President Joe Biden believes they can “flip” Florida to his win column in the 2024 presidential election, due to a number of issues they think will resonate with voters in that state, particularly abortion rights.

In the two presidential campaigns he’s run, former President Donald Trump has won Florida twice, including against Biden in 2020. The state is also Trump’s home state, as he changed his official residency from New York to Florida in 2019 and began living primarily at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Indeed, Republicans have won Florida in four out of the six presidential elections that have occurred since 2000. Many political observers no longer even consider Florida to be the “swing state” it once was in some of those campaigns.

Yet in a new memorandum Biden’s re-election team has produced this week, which several news outlets have published online, the campaign believes it has a stronger chance than it previously had to win the state’s 30 Electoral College votes.

“Florida is not an easy state to win, but it is a winnable one for President Biden, especially given Trump’s weak, cash-strapped campaign, and serious vulnerabilities within his coalition,” Julie Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager, said in the memo.

The memo was published on April 1, the same day that the Florida Supreme Court released dual rulings on abortion — one allowing a constitutional initiative to appear on the November ballot that would protect that right, and another restricting abortion by implementing a six-week ban on the procedure starting in May. The campaign makes clear references to both of those rulings in explaining why they believe Biden has a shot at winning Florida this fall:

With an abortion amendment officially on the ballot this November in Florida, President Biden and Vice President Harris and their commitment to fighting back against Donald Trump and Rick Scott’s attacks on reproductive freedom will help mobilize and expand the electorate in the state, given the overwhelming majority of Floridians support abortion rights. And Florida Republicans will be forced to defend their cruel, indefensible support of this abortion ban.

The six-week abortion ban is also described within the document as being “one that Donald Trump personally paved the way for,” referring to his appointment of three conservative Supreme Court justices who went on to help overturn Roe v. Wade. Without that action, Florida and other states across the country wouldn’t have been able to implement stricter abortion laws.

Biden is currently losing to Trump in the polls conducted within Florida right now. But polling on the abortion question indicates there will be a strong “get out the vote” effort in the state to support the ballot measure, which means in turn that there will likely be a stronger-than-usual turnout of Democratic-leaning voters as well. To pass the ballot measure requires a 60 percent threshold of support from those participating in the vote. Polling from last fall indicates that around 62 percent of Floridians back the language of the abortion ballot initiative, which would protect the right up to fetal “viability,” generally understood to be around 22-25 weeks of pregnancy.

The memo suggests “investing [campaign spending] in Florida as a pathway to victory,” adding that it’s a state “where President Biden has a compelling story of results to tell.”

Beyond abortion, the memo also believes that Biden can win on other issues in the state, including by opposing (and tying to Trump) laws that have resulted in book bans, attacks against the LGBTQ community, loose standards on gun regulation, and more.

“Donald Trump’s platform is uniquely unpopular with the voters who will decide this election in the Sunshine State — and our campaign is primed and ready to seize on the opportunity,” the memo concludes.

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