Pot amendment presents an opportunity for Florida Republicans

As they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Florida Politics reported Monday that a supermajority of Florida voters are in support of a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational pot.

But the cross tabs of that Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll show some interesting correlations hiding beneath that support. And many of them paint a rosy picture for the man in the Governor’s mansion.

Most interestingly, independent voters back recreational use by about the same margin as they do Gov. Ron DeSantis — 73 percent of no-party voters want the constitutional change while 70 percent of indies say the Governor is doing a good job.

Based on those numbers, one could surmise that DeSantis’ outreach on environmental issues has put him in a good position among the no-party crowd backing the amendment put forward by Make It Legal Florida.

At the very least, there’s a lot of overlap.

It also seems the Governor’s plum poll numbers have rubbed off on the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has a 60-31 percent approval rating.

Both DeSantis’ and the Legislature’s popularity have room for growth, too, assuming they jump on the pro-pot bandwagon.

By a 12-point margin, voters say they would be more likely to vote for a lawmaker who backs marijuana legalization rather than less, with a plurality not impacted either way.

Democrats, who are unsurprisingly the least keen on keeping the current cast of electeds, are much more positively impacted.

Supporting adult use didn’t cause a dip in support among Republican voters, either, making a GOP embrace of pot a win-win proposition.

And that’s just the now — the “legalize it” movement has rapidly gained steam over the past decade. In the early 2010s, it was upside down by double digits in the polls.

By mid-2014 it was favored by a majority. And now it has a supermajority.

Between now and Election Day, support could be even higher among GOP voters — and the Republican politicians who support it.

For DeSantis, who isn’t up for re-election until 2022, it’s a sure bet.

There’s at least a year-and-a-half before his campaign for another four years begins in earnest, but he has the opportunity to earn some more goodwill.

By an 8-point margin, voters say they would be more likely to vote for him if he signed a law legalizing marijuana for adult use — that’s a far cry from the razor-thin margin that put him into power.

That doesn’t even take into account what the tax revenues generated by pot could do.

If the Governor and Legislature direct that cash toward education or use it to further DeSantis’ multibillion-dollar environmental agenda, voters could flock to the party in droves.

With two-thirds of Floridians in favor, it could very well be the vehicle for Republicans to weather what could be a wave election for Democrats.

As they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • HM

    August 27, 2019 at 10:21 am

    You forgot to mention the state’s leading marijuana legalization campaign, RegulateFlorida..com – which already qualified for Supreme Court review. That’s the citizen led initiative and not the one for big out of state businesses.

  • gary

    August 28, 2019 at 3:11 am

    Weed is a no go in Florida! It destroys brain cells in young.

    • Dan

      August 28, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      You are an idiot or you work for big pharmaceutical companies. Marijuana has helped more people then any other drug. You must like mass shooters, they were all on mental health drugs, not one mass shooter was on marijuana. Know your facts before you comment bum

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