According to a poll, DeSantis leads all Democrats who might run against him in the general election. The survey was conducted by the national polling firm, Victory insights, conducted a survey of 600 respondents in Florida about the 2022 gubernatorial race and has a margin of error of 4.1%
The poll indicates that 57% of respondents have a favorable view of DeSantis, with 49% of those surveyed saying they had a very favorable opinion of the governor. The support, as expected, was heavily divided along partisan lines, with 48% of registered Democrats saying they had a “very unfavorable” opinion of DeSantis, while 76% of Republicans and 48% of Independents said they had a “very favorable” opinion on him.
The poll also tested possible matchups between Ron DeSantis and prospective Democratic candidates: Rep. Charlie Christ (former governor who already announced his candidacy), Rep. Val Demmings (a congresswoman on her second term), and Commissioner Nikki Freid (who has won the only statewide election for the Democrats in years).
DeSantis performs well in all of these hypothetic matchups: 53/47 against Crist, 54/45.8 against Val Demmings, and 53/46.7 against Freid. Such numbers would be a significant improvement for DeSantis who won his keys to the governor’s mansion in 2018 by the tight margin of 32,463 votes out of 8.2 million votes cast.
With increasing rumors and media buzz around a possible DeSantis presidential bid for 2024, it is vital for the governor to retain his seat in Florida if he wants to have a successful run in either the next presidential election or in the future.
DeSantis leads all Democrats and good news for Charlie Crist
Although the main winner of this poll is obviously DeSantis, former governor Crist also received a couple of good news from the results of the poll. According to the poll, 54% of self-identified Democrats said that they would vote for him over Val Demmings or Fried and he is the Democrat who had the highest share of the vote in the head-to-head matchup against DeSantis.
Another good sign for the governor-turned-representative is that he has some decent approval numbers within registered Republicans, with 43% of those asked saying they had either a “favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Crist. In comparison, 40% of Republicans said the same with Rep. Demmings and only 31% said the same with Freid.
The other key data nugget taken from this poll is that former governor Crist has a far superior name ID than his direct rivals within the Democratic Party. While only 7% of those asked said they had no opinion on Christ, almost 38% have no idea of who is Rep. Val Demmings and 40% said the same thing about Commissioner Fried.
This could be both a blessing and a curse for Mr. Crist. His high name ID will certainly help him in his fundraising efforts and he will not need to spend much of his effort on making his name known to the voter. However, since he is an already well-established figure on Florida politics, voters have already set an opinion on him, which makes any attempt of reshaping his public image a bit trickier.
Demmings and Fried, hence, face the diametrically opposite: they will need to spend much time and money on creating a personal brand recognizable to the Florida voter but they also will have more control on establishing a preferred personal image, as voters have yet to set an opinion on them.
This poll will certainly be received with joy in the inner circles of the DeSantis and even the Crist campaign teams. However, the elections are still a year away and elections in Florida are usually decided by margins that are smaller than the margin of error, which is why nothing can be taken for certain yet.