Lauren Brenzel with Planned Parenthood speaks at the Florida Historic Capitol building following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion protections under Roe v. Wade. June 24, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown
As Election Day approaches, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has released back-to-back digital ads on the abortion issue, one about Gov. Ron DeSantis signing into law Florida’s 15-week abortion ban and the second about whether DeSantis would push for more restrictions.
The two candidates — Democrat Crist and Republican DeSantis — will square off Nov. 8.
The abortion issue has been a common theme in campaigns across the nation, following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case in June.
But it’s still not clear if the abortion issue will resonate with Floridians when voters go to poll.
As it stands now, a recent public opinion survey by the University of South Florida found that Floridians are focused more on the economy and inflation, compared to abortion rights, as previously reported by the Florida Phoenix.
Deana Rohlinger is a professor and associate dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University. Rohlinger opined that Democrats, particularly, have been pushing the issue most likely because it could help empower young voters in Florida.
“It benefits Democrats to focus on abortion in terms of getting out the vote. Particularly, their efforts aimed at younger folks,” Rohlinger said in a phone conversation Thursday with the Florida Phoenix. “We know that younger folks oftentimes vote Democratic.”
She continued: “But they can be a stubborn demographic in getting to the polling place. So, there is certainly that aspect. I mean in Florida there is a lot up for play depending on how things change in the state. So long-term abortion politics in the state of Florida, I think it’s fair to say are unclear at this point in terms of what will be legal and for how many weeks.”
Crist’s earlier ad this week on abortion featured DeSantis signing the 15-week ban into law.
On Thursday, Crist released a digital ad that warns Floridians that DeSantis would push for more restrictions to the state’s 15-week abortion law without exceptions for rape or incest. The ad is entitled “Across the Aisle,” with three women featured who identify as Democrat, Republican and Independent.
“We need to elect Charlie Crist if we want to protect our freedom to choose,” a woman in the ad says. “Ron DeSantis has already signed a ban on abortion with no exception for rape or incest.”
The ad “will run in media markets across the state today as part of a seven-figure buy,” according to a press release from the Crist campaign.
The public opinion survey conducted by USF this week found that only 28 percent of those surveyed listed abortion as a main concern. That included Democrats, Republicans, Independents and others in the survey.
Inflation, economy and jobs ranked top of the list for the 600 likely Florida voters in the survey by USF.
Meanwhile, the lobbying group Florida Voice for the Unborn is pushing DeSantis to include “comprehensive legislation protecting all Florida’s unborn children” in an upcoming special session of the Legislature — if DeSantis wins the governor’s race.
DeSantis’ campaign has yet to respond to the digital ads on abortion. Many of DeSantis’ ads include issues such as Keep Florida Free, providing K-12 education dollars and touting budget surpluses.
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