TO: Florida Chamber Members and Interested Parties
FROM: Alex Coelho, Director of Data and Analytics
CC: Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Frank Walker, EVP, and Nick Catroppo, VP Political Operations
DATE: October 24, 2022
RE: Florida Chamber Targeted Messaging to the Electorate for the 2022 Gubernatorial Contest
The 2022 general election contest for Florida Governor is likely the most important state election in America as we have a pro-jobs and education governor (Ron DeSantis) running against a personal injury trial lawyer (Charlie Crist). Florida is leading the nation in most job creation and economic growth measures. With absentee ballots already in the mail, we are in the vital phase of voter education.
Governor DeSantis has a lead in recent polling, with strong approval ratings and a record of achievement during his first term that has earned him the Florida Chamber’s endorsement as well as endorsements from a wide cross-section of interest groups and officials. However, given the massive political contributions of anti-business billionaires such as George Soros into anti-Florida candidates like Charlie Crist, these facts make victory for the Governor far from an inevitability.
The 2018 gubernatorial contest in Florida was decided by just 32,463 votes, less than one-half of one percent of votes cast. Florida remains a closely divided state politically, and the Governor’s lead over Charlie Crist is less than 5 points on average in polls conducted after the Democratic primary. These poll results are close enough to the margin of error to be considered consistent with the Florida Chamber’s most recent statewide poll.
The Florida Chamber has led the fight against the harmful and expensive impacts of billboard trial lawyers in Florida for years, and this long-term fight makes the Chamber uniquely qualified and capable of exposing Charlie Crist’s career in this industry as well as the detrimental impact of his policies for consumers, residents and local businesses during his previous stint as Governor.
Approximately half of Florida’s active registered voters first registered to vote in the state after the end of the Crist administration and will have little to no knowledge of the destructive consequences of Crist’s tenure as Governor – economic chaos, lower bond ratings, and the highest tax increase in Florida history. Floridians pay some of the highest homeowners and auto insurance rates in the nation, and they do so primarily because of Charlie Crist and billboard trial lawyers like him.
The Florida Chamber’s most recent polling shows nearly 80 percent of voters understand that billboard trial lawyers care more about money than they do about protecting people’s rights, a view shared across every demographic group and geographic region of Florida. It’s no wonder that Charlie Crist avoids drawing attention to his work in this field.
Florida voters are not fans of billboard trial lawyers who advertise on TV and by educating voters on who Charlie Crist really is, we can help ensure he doesn’t end up as Florida’s next Governor. Policy, momentum and judges who uphold the constitution are all on the ballot and we need to ensure Governor DeSantis continues in his leadership role. The Florida Chamber’s most recent statewide poll showed that billboard trial lawyers are viewed very negatively by the public, with 47 percent of likely voters in Florida viewing them unfavorably compared to just 16 percent with a favorable view. These strong unfavorables were seen across all parts of Florida, with a majority of likely voters in both media markets of the vital I-4 corridor expressing unfavorable sentiments toward the billboard trial lawyer industry.
Likely Voters View of Personal Injury, Billboard Trial Lawyers by Media Market
|Media Market||Favorable View||Unfavorable View||Net Favorability|
|West Palm Beach||14%||42%||-28%|
Source: Most Recent Florida Chamber of Commerce Statewide Poll, MOE +/- 4%
Reaching Floridians with a message of both Charlie Crist’s past failures as Governor as well as his work in a deeply unpopular profession will serve to blunt efforts from Crist’s campaign to narrow his deficit in the race for Governor. Sufficiently funded, this message is ready-made to be delivered to voters at the ideal time in this election cycle to persuade hesitant or undecided voters toward continuing the pro-growth governing agenda that Governor DeSantis has carried out over the past four years.