Florida Influencer Poll: Ron DeSantis’ first weeks turned some heads

Peter SchorschFebruary 8, 20198min
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Republicans were a near monolith in saying former Congressman had outperformed their expectations.

When Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott were elected three months ago, just as many Floridians were exuberant as despondent.

The split among Florida influencers wasn’t as razor-thin as the body politic as the bulk identify as Republican, but it was there none the less.

With both men settled into their new jobs, Florida Politics reached out to 145 of the state’s top lobbyists, consultants, political operatives and data wonks to for their take one month into the new regime.

For DeSantis, things couldn’t be rosier.

Republicans were a near monolith in saying former Congressman had outperformed their expectations since getting sworn in on Jan. 8. Three-quarters of NPA influencers said the same.

More surprising: Democrats are starting to buy in, with 31 of 34 self-described Dems saying DeSantis had done “better than expected” in his first few weeks as Governor.

Most of them cited his environmental efforts, none larger than the $2.5 billion Everglades restoration and water quality plan announced on his third day in office.

“After running a general election campaign that, despite his victory, was head scratchingly inept, DeSantis has shown himself to be a preternaturally skilled political operator in his first few weeks in office,” said one influencer.

The three holdouts weren’t too down on him they just want to sit on the fence a little longer. The same goes for the NPAs, none of whom said they were already writing DeSantis off.

The only respondent to pooh-pooh the new pooh bah was a Republican, the main gripe being the Governor’s objectively successful public image campaign — he’s the most popular GOP pol in the state by a wide margin.

“Rick Scott’s first few weeks as Governor actually delivered conservative policies, at the cost of good will with the media and Democrats,” they wrote. “DeSantis has opted for the complete opposite, throwing bones to liberals in the form of environmental lip service, smokable marijuana and a budget that has more fat in it than Chris Christie at Krispy Kreme.”

Meanwhile, the word on Scott is as middling as ever.

About one in six influencers, all of them Republican, said things are going swimmingly in Scott’s Washington office, while another sixth said the opposite. The other two-thirds are taking the “wait and see” approach.

The former two-term Governor’s immigration platorm, specifically the shakiness of it, was a source of the “meh” from both sides of the aisle as was his perceived lack of telegenic charm.

“[Scott]’s done good by pushing for a solution for Dreamers,” one influencer wrote. “He’s gutted his credibility by encouraging the president to use an executive order to fund a border wall. This is the same governor who regularly called President Obama’s executive orders unconstitutional.”

The Influencer Poll solicited the opinions of some of the most plugged-in politicos in the Sunshine State to get their views on what’s happening in Florida politics. Think your name should be on the list? Send us a message.


The Influencers taking part in this survey are: Jason Altmire, Allison Aubuchon, Jon Ausman, Roger Austin, Albert Balido, Katie Ballard, Sarah Bascom, Ashley Bauman, Geoffrey Becker, Taylor Biehl, Ron Bilbao, Katie Bohnett, Brian Burgess, Bill Carlson, Kevin Cate, Jim Cherry, Brad Coker, Rachel Cone, Jordan Connors, Josh Cooper, Gus Corbella, Husein Cumber, Karen Cyphers, Jim Daughton, Claudia Davant, Hayden Dempsey, Pablo Diaz, Nelson Diaz, Víctor DiMaio, Ryan Duffy, Barry Edwards, Eric Eikenberg, Michelle Ertel, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Trip Farmer, Anna Alexopolous-Farrar, Mike Fasano, Peter Feaman, Cesar Fernandez, Damien Filer, Marty Fiorentino, Matt Florell, Shawn Foster, Towson Fraser, Kelsey Frouge, Erin Gaetz, AG Gancarski, Steve Geller, Adam Giery, Larry Gillis, Trimmel Gomes, Pamela Goodman, Jennifer Green, Marion Hammer, Abel Harding, Jeff Hartley, Chris Hartline, Max Herrle, Brecht Heuchan, Brian Hughes, Matthew Isbell, Lila Jaber, Nick Janovsky, Christina Johnson, David Johnson, Eric Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Marva Johnson, Stafford Jones, Todd Josko, Fred Karlinsky, Joshua Karp, Natalie Kato, Micah Ketchel, Lori Killinger, John Konkus, Jeff Kottkamp, Ron LaFace, Beth Lerner, John Lux, Roly Marante, Jim Magill, Beth Matuga, Frank Mayernick, Kristen McDonald, Darrick McGhee, Will McKinley, Kathy Mears, Joe Mobley, Dan Newman, Ryan Nicol, Tim Nungesser, Edie Ousley, Darryl Paulson, Bill Peebles, Juan Peñalosa, Kirk Pepper, Fred Piccolo, Gretchen Picotte, Ron Pierce, JC Planas, Bob Poe, Ben Pollara, Scott Powers, Foyt Ralston, Marc Reichelderfer, Jim Rimes, Franco Ripple, Scott Ross, Evan Ross, Preston Rudie, Elnatan Rudolph, Ron Sachs, April Schiff, Jack Seiler, David Shepp, Stephen Shiver, Patrick Slevin, Stephanie Smith, Tim Stapleton, Eileen Stuart, Alan Suskey, Brad Swanson, Kevin Sweeny, Beth Sweeny, Allison Tant, Jenn Ungru, Greg Ungru, Steven Vancore, Erin Van Sickle, Claire Van Susteren, Sam Verghese, Ashley Walker, Nancy Watkins, Christian Weiss, Doug Wheeler, Ryan Wiggins, Susie Wiles, Rick Wilson, Jamie Wilson, Julia Gill Woodward, Michael Worley, Skylar Zander, Mark Zubaly.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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