Traditionally, you needed to look just below Maryland to see votes for President start to turn pink and then, as you traveled farther south, reliably deep red. But if the current polls are to be believed, the arc from below Maryland to Florida is a rainbow of blue, purple and a spot of red for the 2020 election for President.
According to polls updated a couple of days ago, Virginia is a solid blue, with likely voters for former Vice President Biden at 56% and for President Trump 42%. The spread is a bit larger – 58% to 42% -- among registered voters. Moving south into North Carolina, Biden maintains a lead comfortably outside the typical margin of error (3.5% or so) with totals of 52 to 46 among likely voters and 53 to 45 among registered voters.
Things change significantly in South Carolina where President Trump holds leads of 52 to 46 and 50 to 47, respectively. But the race in Georgia is uncharacteristically close; since 1972, only native son Jimmy Carter and Arkansan Bill Clinton won the state’s electoral votes. Currently Biden is ahead of Trump among likely voters by a slim 50% to 49% margin while his lead among registered voters is a more comfortable 52 to 46.
Finally, Florida, always a pivotal state, could not be closer, with the two candidates tied at 49% among likely voters and with a 1% lead for Biden among registered voters. Polling from Sumter County, home to the enormous Villages community in north central Florida, is getting a lot of media attention and indicates a surge in support for the former Vice President.
The pandemic has caused more intense migration from cities to the Southeast bringing with it, generally, more progressive voters from the Northern states. The Sunbelt’s attractive cost of living is not only attractive to retirees, but also to the millions of employees working from home during the pandemic. Their companies are learning these workers are even more productive working from home, and they just might let many of them stay there even after a vaccine. They will be able to work from anywhere, and that low cost of living and balmy winter climates will prove attractive to many of them. Many will target golf communities as safe and attractive havens.
The bluing of the South might very well continue in future elections.