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Trump’s climate change record under the microscope in new ad targeting Tampa voters

The 30-second spot is part of a $1.7 million effort to highlight Trump's environmental record

An environmental group wants Tampa Bay area voters to remember that President Donald Trump called climate change a “hoax” when they vote this November, and the organization has a new ad to remind people.

The ad is part of a $1.7 million campaign by EDF Action Votes, a Super PAC promoting the Environmental Defense Fund, to defeat Trump. It’s the first time the organization has involved itself in presidential politics by campaigning against a candidate, which the organization says is in response to Trump’s stances on the environment and science.

The ad will air on cable stations throughout the Tampa Bay media market. The 30-second spot focuses on Trump’s repeated denials of the climate crisis, which scientists say will disproportionately affect Florida. As a narrator lays out the challenges ahead, it cuts to footage of Trump calling climate change “a hoax.”

“Florida’s climate crisis is getting worse. Our summers are getting hotter,” the narrator says. “And the experts agree: NASA, scientists, even our military leaders know climate change is real.”

EDF Action believes Trump’s environmental record makes him vulnerable to voters in Florida, where a majority of residents believe climate change is real and want government to take action. According to internal research provided to the Tampa Bay Times, EDF Action found their ad was more effective in the Tampa region than those about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Overall, 55 percent of people who saw the ad said it raised serious questions about Trump. Hispanic voters, especially, said the ad would make them less likely to vote for the president.

Their internal results also showed that Trump is leading former Vice President Joe Biden by 3 percentage points in the Tampa Bay media market and that the incumbent president is considerably more popular than the Democratic nominee. But Biden is also outperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance here.

“Florida remains the most valuable swing state, and the Tampa area is an essential piece of the puzzle,” said Kevin Akins, a Florida pollster and vice president at ALG Research hired by EDF Action. “Among Trump’s biggest weaknesses are his repeated failures to follow the guidance of experts, and that includes his disastrous record on the environment and climate change.”