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Sayfie Review Featured Column

By Susan A. MacManus

USF Distinguished University Professor Emerita

May 2022


It is just 6 months until the Nov. 8 midterm election—the perfect time to lay out a list of yet unanswered questions about Florida’s 2022 election cycle. Of greatest intrigue to Floridians and the nation at-large is whether at election’s end there will be any consensus about how to describe the Sunshine State’s politics. 


Will Florida hold on to its long-standing label as a “purple” (highly competitive) state, or be colored bright “red” (solidly Republican) or a light shade of “pink” (leaning Republican)?  


Many are describing 2022 as a “pivotal election” in the nation’s political history—potentially moving its politics from the left (liberal) to the right (conservative). Florida will be a key bellwether of whether that happens but there are many questions to be answered before such a conclusion can be reached.  Here are 25!

Candidates and Contests

  1. Will Florida Democrats make inroads in winning statewide races?
  2. Will the U.S. Senate race between Rubio and Demings be closer than the governor’s race?
  3. Who will the Democratic nominee for Governor select as running mate? Will the ticket reflect racial/ethnic diversity?
  4. Will President Biden campaign in Florida alongside Democrat nominees for Governor and U.S. Senator? Will former Pres. Trump endorse and campaign for Gov. DeSantis and other statewide GOP nominees?
  5. Will the number of women filing to run for Congress and the state legislature continue to rise? Candidacies of women of color? Republican women?
  6.  Will there be an organized “Vote No” campaign against the retention of one or several Florida Supreme Court justices?
  7. Will the August “nonpartisan” school board races be more competitive than usual, drawing more conservative candidates to challenge incumbents? How many incumbents will be defeated or simply decide not to run?
  8. How successful will school tax referenda on the ballots of several counties be at a time many Floridians are feeling fiscal pressures due to worsened economic conditions? Referenda on tax breaks for businesses?


Political Parties & Their Bases

  1. Will Florida Democrats close the Republicans’ growing registration edge? Are post-pandemic new arrivals still leaning more Republican?
  2. How much out-of-state money will come to FL Democratic candidates? Will the national party redirect funds from Florida to Democrats in other key states?
  3. Which party will win the larger suburban vote?
  4. Which party will win the growing No Party Affiliation (NPA) vote?
  5. Will Democrats recover from the GOP’s higher levels of support from Florida Latinos in 2020 than in earlier elections? From being branded “socialists”?
  6. Will Republicans hold on to moderates
  7. Will the women’s vote be as closely split between Democrats and Republicans as it was in 2020 (the closest in the nation)?


  1. Will economics be a bigger driver of vote choice and turnout than cultural issues?
  2. Will the 2022 election follow the typical midterm pattern of markedly lower turnout, most notably among young voters? Which candidates/issues will draw them to vote? Will passage of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill be a bigger driver than climate change, rising rent costs, college loans, or gun control?
  3. Will Val Demings and/or voters’ negative reactions to the congressional redistricting map ramp up Black turnout which lagged in 2020?
  4. Will pro-life stances on abortion be a stronger mobilizer of turnout for Republicans or Democrats? Or could it equally motivate Democrats and Republicans?  
  5. Will Democrats erase the current Republican edge in “enthusiasm for voting”?


The Voting Process

  1. How much voter confusion will there be over redistricting/new precinct locations and new election laws related to vote-by-mail requirements and drop boxes (secure ballot intake stations)?
  2. Will there be serious threats against election officials and poll workers?
  3. How many voters will file an election fraud complain with the new Office of Election Crimes and Security? What part of the election process will generate the most complaints? How many complains will be referred to law enforcement?
  4. Will the outcome of the election be challenged in court?
  5. Will public opinion polling in Florida improve over 2018 and 2020? How accurate will horserace polls be?
  6. Will there be an “October surprise” and what is it likely to be? Which party will it help? Hurt?