Americans are increasingly vocal about their economic concerns, and the state of the economy is often viewed through a partisan lens. This is especially true in Central Florida, a county that voted for President Barack Obama, then for President Donald Trump and, later, for Biden. In interviews across Pinellas County, both Republicans and Democrats expressed frustration with the economy. Democrats blamed global forces, the pandemic and the disruption of supply chains, while Republicans pointed to rising costs of living.
Four years ago, people were relatively content with the economy, but now many are feeling the financial pressure. The White House often touts the low unemployment rate and record job creation as evidence of a strong economy. However, Maranda Douglas, a Democrat, said that her first-hand experience in today's economy does not match up to the job market described by Biden and his team. The struggle to find affordable housing is common in Pinellas County, which has seen an influx of new residents in recent years. Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, sees Orlando and Central Florida as “the state's new breadbasket”.
Since then, a School of Medicine at the University of Central Florida, MD. The Anderson-Orlando Cancer Research Institute, Nemours Children's Hospital, the Orlando Veterans Administration Medical Center and the University of Florida Academic and Research Center have opened their doors or are in the works. In fact, the Central Florida entertainment empire that Walt built now faces major global problems, such as stagnant roads, housing shortages and scarcity of natural resources. UCF and the Central Florida Research Park offer companies close proximity to some of the best researchers and students in the country. While Disney lobbyists hold talks with legislators outside of public hearings, allied associations such as the Florida Chamber, the Retail Federation and Associated Industries of Florida testify publicly in support of what could be Disney's often tacit position. Beyond Disney World, famous around the world, and a huge hotel sector, Orlando is benefiting from higher-than-average employment growth, a booming health science complex and cheap housing prices.
Polls suggest that voters are concerned about the economy but political history in real life is complicated. Anger is often effective in motivating voters and Democrats insist that their base is also angry that their rights are being taken away. Jennifer Griffin, a gynecologist who performs abortions in the area, said that her patients are furious about the series of regulations imposed on them by the Florida state legislature: the 24-hour waiting period for abortions and the 15-week ban, for example. The economy is an important factor when it comes to politics in Central Florida but it is not always the main factor that drives people's political decisions. Voters often point to other issues such as student debt forgiveness or abortion rights when making their decisions. Ultimately it is up to each individual voter to decide what matters most to them when it comes time to cast their ballot. It is clear that Central Florida's economy has a significant impact on its politics.
From rising costs of living to housing shortages to regulations on abortion rights, economic issues are at play in many aspects of life in this region. As citizens continue to express their frustrations with economic conditions in Central Florida, it will be interesting to see how these issues shape future elections.