A new poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows that in Florida, where there are roughly 14.5 million registered voters, almost exactly split between Republicans and Democrats, GOP Governor Ron DeSantis has gained strong majority support, as 55% of voters approve of the job he’s done and only 40% disapprove.
According to the Florida Department of State, there are 5,290,465 registered Democrats in the state, 5,185,744 Republicans, a whopping 3,832,070 independents with no party affiliation (NPAs), and 247,108 voters affiliated with another party.
Yet the fact that the state is evenly split didn’t stop DeSantis from accumulating a 15-point advantage among voters, attributed to 88% of GOP voters approving and only 6% disapproving, as well as 57% of NPAs approving of him and only 37% disapproving.
When it came to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, DeSantis again received high marks, with an overwhelming 70% of respondents approving.
Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson stated, “As I’ve said for over a year, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida continues moving in the right direction and serving as the national model for COVID-19 recovery while other states chose fear over facts. Governor DeSantis’ strong approval ratings show Florida’s voters and Florida’s business community are united around his leadership in protecting Floridians and Florida’s economy.”
DeSantis’ high approval rating was also reflected in his numbers versus prospective opponents in the 2022 gubernatorial race; he held a double-digit lead over every major challenger. DeSantis led noted party-changer Charlie Crist 51% to 41%.
Crist was a Republican from 1993 to 2010, when he served in the Florida Senate, then as Florida Education Commissioner, then Florida Attorney General before being elected governor in 2006. He lost in his bid for the GOP nomination for the 2010 U.S. Senate to Marco Rubio, then became an independent, losing to Rubio in the general election in a three-way race. In December 2012, he joined the Democratic Party and endorsed Barack Obama for president. He lost in his race for governor in 2014 to the GOP’s Rick Scott, who later became a United States senator.
In the Chamber of Commerce poll, DeSantis also led Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried 51% to 39% and led Congresswoman Val Demings 53% to 38%. He held a double-digit lead among NPA’s by outpolling Crist by 17 points, Fried by 16, and Demings by 20.
“As far as vaccine distribution, even a plurality of Democrats praise him in that field. About 48% of Democrats approve of his job regarding that issue, compared to 46% who disapprove. Meanwhile, 91% of Republicans give him good marks,” Florida Politics noted of the results from the poll. “With independents, DeSantis enjoys 74% approval and 22% disapproval of what he’s done with vaccines. That’s an overwhelmingly positive response to the greatest logistical challenge presented to the Governor so far in his first term in office.”
The sample size of the poll, which was conducted between April 30 and May 8, included 242 Democrats, 244 Republicans, and 116 others.