Mid-term election predictions with pollster Steve Vancore at annual Chamber Conference

From the Tallahassee Democrat

Steve Vancore, pollster and partner at VancoreJones, leaped right into the “dangerous business” of predicting the mid-term elections at a Chamber Conference session Saturday at Amelia Island. Here were some of his biggest predictions.

  • On Democratic gubernatorial primary, Vancore says things are looking good for a Tallahassee nominee. He says Gwen Graham probably has enough of a lead to pull out a victory. But don’t count out the other local candidate, Mayor Andrew Gillum. He said he saw one poll where many voters didn’t even realize Gillum was black. As he becomes more known during the endgame campaign blitz, “you may see an Andrew Gillum surge.”
  • He’s placing odds on a Ron DeSantis victory in the GOP primary.
  • Explaining the rise of non-party affiliated voters, Vancore said millennials don’t like to be party lined. And they are seeing extremism on both ends that they don’t identify with.
  • He isn’t seeing a big blue wave coming, but he may see some blue water hitting shore. “All politics is not local, most politics is national,” he says, noting how national trade winds shape races up and down the ballot. He said Republican loyalty to President Donald Trump should serve the party well in races, even as energized Democrats flood the polls. He predicts that the U.S. House will flip, but don’t expect the same from the Florida House.
  • On the U.S. Senate run, Vancore says Gov. Rick Scott’s team is very good at identifying and going after citizens who don’t always vote but have a propensity to go GOP. He says Scott’s side is doing a better job of mobilizing those voters than Dems.
  • “There seems to be some trend lines favoring women candidates,” Vancore says, noting that two-thirds of new voters are women.
  •  Vancore was reluctant to weigh in on local races as much of his focus has been on state-level races. However, he said one trend this cycle has been that the donor community is very hesitant to participate because of “local chatter.” He pointed to the Tallahassee Democrat’s coverage of the ongoing  FBI investigation and ethics issues at City Hall as one factor.