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TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/5/19-Speaker Pro Tempore MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta, left, and House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, listen as Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, delivers his first State of the State address, during the opening day of the 2019 Legislative session at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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Quinnipiac poll: Ron DeSantis’s approval rating highest of any Fla. governor in 10 years

Even Democrats approve of Gov. DeSantis, 42 – 28 percent.

Florida voters approve 59 – 17 percent of the job newly-elected Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing, the highest approval rating for a Sunshine State governor in 10 years, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Even Democrats approve of DeSantis, 42 – 28 percent.

A total of 67 percent of Florida voters are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the way things are going in the state today, tying the highest satisfaction rate since the independent Quinnipiac University Poll first asked this question in 2004. Another 30 percent are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”

“Ron DeSantis won the governorship by the slimmest of margins, yet in his first two-plus months in office he has gotten off to a strong start. His 59 percent job approval today is better than most of his counterparts around the country,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Part of Gov. DeSantis’ success is his taking on issues such as the environment on which Republicans often don’t focus.

DeSantis’ predecessor Rick Scott never cleared 50 percent in job approval rating in previous Quinnipiac polls, peaking at a 49 percent job approval rating, with 40 percent of voters disapproving, in February, 2017, just before the 2018 U.S. Senate election season began. In a pre-election poll done last October, Scott’s approval rating had sunk to 45 percent approval, and 50 percent disapproval.

Scott’s story was of a governor whose poll numbers started divided and uncertain and then quickly plummeted, never really recovering, as Florida voters largely divided on him early and stayed that way. The first poll of his tenure, in February, 2011, gave him 35 percent approval, and just 22 percent disapproval. Once he got going, that changed, and by May, 2011, his job approval had fallen to 29 percent while his disapproval rating soared to 57 percent.

Scott’s predecessor Charlie Crist found and long held broad popularity and then squandered it.

Crist entered office in 2007 and quickly received a 69 percent job approval rating in Quinnipiac’s February, 2007, poll. Crist still had a winning job approval rating at the start of his fourth year in office, 52 percent to 33 percent, in February 2010 . But after he left the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010 that approval plummeted. Quinnipiac’s last poll while he was still in office, in October, 2010, found him underwater, with 47 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval.

Yet Crist oversaw a Florida economy that went from boom to bust, and Scott inherited a collapsed economy. Like Crist, DeSantis may be benefitting in part from starting with the robust economy, which emerged under Scott and remained as DeSantis took office.

The latest Quinnipiac Poll found 71 percent of voters say Florida’s economy is “excellent” or “good,” the highest level ever for this measure, while 27 percent say the economy is “not so good” or “poor.” Florida’s economy is getting better, 37 percent of voters say, as 12 percent say it is getting worse and 49 percent say it’s staying about the same.

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“Gov. DeSantis and the state’s politicians are benefitting from an overall sunny mood among Floridians who are happy about the economy and life in general,” Brown said.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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