Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis has a healthy lead over all potential Democratic candidates, according to a state poll released this Monday. The St Pete Poll shows the Republican governor has a six-point lead (50.6%-44.8%) over former governor Charlie Crist and almost nine points (51.2%-42.3%) over Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. These margins represent a comfortable lead for Mr. DeSantis, who defeated his Democratic opponent for governor by just 0.4% of the vote in 2018.
The survey also shows that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is also well ahead of his Democratic challenger, former Rep. Val Demings, with the GOP congressman beating Demings by more than six points, with Rubio at 51% and Demings at 44.3%.
Ron DeSantis is doing well among key constituencies, with the governor having a very impressive share of support among Florida Hispanics as the poll shows the governor polling at more than 51% with Latinos against both Fried and Crist. If true, this trend should raise the alarms in the headquarters of the Florida Democratic Party, since Latinos make up 17% (around 2.5 million) of registered voters. In 2020, the Republican Party sowed very large gains in the majority Hispanic county of Miami-Dade, a trend that could severely imperil Democrats’ chances to win in the state if it continues beyond 2020.
GOP Hispanic strategist Giancarlo Sopo said that the Governor’s strength with Hispanics goes beyond the Cuban-American community, as non-Cubans represent more than 70% of the Florida Hispanic voters, and that the results from 2020 show that the GOP made double-digit gains in heavily Puerto Rican communities near Orlando.
The conservative governor is also polling very well with Independents and even with registered Democrats, with DeSantis polling at 52% with the formers and garnering almost 19% of Democratic support when facing whether Crist or Fried. Surprisingly, the poll also shows that DeSantis has a very significant strength as the governor among very young voters, with DeSantis polling at more than 57% with voters among 18-29 years old against either Crist or Fried.
The poll comes weeks after it was revealed that the Democrat’s Governors Association will not be directing significant financial resources to try and unseat Gov. DeSantis next year, with an article made by Politico quoting a Democratic consultant who said that DeSantis was looking very strong both politically and financially and that Democrats would be wanting to focus their resources in more competitive gubernatorial races like Arizona, Maryland or Massachusetts.
Although the polls do paint a very good political panorama for Mr. DeSantis, the elections are still expected to be close (as they are always in Florida), and having early good poll numbers is not a guarantee for victory on election day. However, as things stand, for now, the 2022 Florida gubernatorial race is DeSantis’ to lose.