Florida Gov. DeSantis leads Democratic challengers: poll
Four years after winning election by the narrowest of margins, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leads his three most likely Democratic challengers in advance of November’s midterm elections, a new poll finds.
The survey, conducted by the nonpartisan firm Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, found DeSantis claiming more than half the vote in match-ups against Rep. Charlie Crist (D), state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) and state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D).
DeSantis leads Crist, making his bid to return to Tallahassee a dozen years after his sole term as governor ended, by a 51 percent to 43 percent margin. DeSantis leads Fried by a 53 percent to 42 percent margin. And he leads Taddeo, who represents a Miami-area district, 53 percent to 37 percent.
DeSantis leads by much wider margins among independents; against Crist, he leads 56 percent to 33 percent among those voters.
Fifty-three percent of voters say they approve of the job DeSantis has done in office, the same rating voters gave him a year ago. Forty-three percent said they disapprove of his job performance.
Among Democratic voters, Crist has the early edge ahead of the Aug. 23 primary. He would win 44 percent of the vote today, while Fried claims 27 percent and Taddeo takes just 3 percent. Another quarter of Democratic voters, 26 percent, remain undecided.
Just about a third of voters, 32 percent, see Crist favorably, while 35 percent view him unfavorably. Two-thirds of Florida voters either do not know enough about Fried to have an opinion or do not recognize her name. Only 11 percent of Florida voters know enough about Taddeo to have formed an opinion.
DeSantis won office in 2018 by less than 33,000 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast, a margin of just 0.4 percentage points over former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D).
In the intervening four years, DeSantis has governed as a conservative, and his rising profile has some convinced he will explore a run for president in 2024.
Winning reelection by a substantial margin would give his prospects a boost. No governor of Florida has won election by more than 2 percentage points since Crist carried the state by 7 points in 2006.
The Mason-Dixon poll was conducted Feb. 7-10 among 625 registered Florida voters, with an oversample of 400 likely Democratic primary voters. The overall survey carried a margin of error of 4 percentage points, while the subsample of Democratic voters held a margin of 5 points.