Ron DeSantis’ approval ratings riding high in new poll

ron desantis
A super-majority of Floridians also support marijuana legalization

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ first ten months in office are making him universally popular, with a job approval rating of 72 percent, among the highest for any governor in recent history, a new poll from the University of North Florida finds.

The poll also found a super-majority of Florida voters are in favor of recreational marijuana legalization, and a majority who believe the Florida Legislature and DeSantis did the right thing this past spring when they limited the effect of Amendment 4 by requiring felons to pay all financial obligations to the courts before they are allowed to vote again.

Florida’s two Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried all were found with strong approval ratings. Though none of them topped 50 percent, all of them have very few Floridians thinking they’re not doing good jobs.

DeSantis’ approval rating is heavily lifted by a 91 percent thumbs-up from Republicans. Yet he also has strong majorities of both Democrats and independent voters pleased with what he’s doing, according to the poll, done by UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab. The Republican Governor has majorities of Floridians approvals across all demographic groups, except African American voters with whom he manages 50 percent, with only 32 percent of black voters disapprove of his performance.

“This is the highest gubernatorial approval in recent history. You’d have to go back to the early days of the Charlie Crist administration to see numbers this high,” Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF, stated in a news release. “Working on bipartisan issues and acting in a reasonable fashion during the recent hurricane season are contributing to his popularity in a state where the governor isn’t historically popular across parties.”

Florida voters’ positions on key issues, the marijuana legalization issue not withstanding which DeSantis does not support, all give strength to the Governor and his positions.

The poll was conducted Oct. 14 through Sunday with live phone calls of 669 registered Florida voters. The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

Among the issue findings:

— 64 percent support legalization of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Only 33 percent oppose. Even Republicans showed majority support, coming out 54-42 in favor of marijuana legalization.

“Though it’s very unlikely a Republican legislature will legalize recreational marijuana this session, it’s fascinating that even a majority of Republicans support legalization,” Binder noted.

— 55 percent approve of the financial requirements being placed, through Senate Bill 7066, on felons seeking to restore their rights to vote under the 2018 Amendment 4, while only 32 percent disapprove.

“Amendment Four and the legislation passed earlier this year are currently in the courts, but a preliminary injunction issued recently suggests that SB 7066 might get revisited this session,” Binder stated.

— 71 percent support requiring businesses in Florida to use the federal immigration database, E-Verify, to check whether their workers are eligible for employment.

— Only 38 percent support allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, while 59 percent oppose.

“The bipartisan support for E-Verify could buoy this issue during session, but business interests are often opposed to state level action on immigration verification systems,” Binder noted. “Republican opposition to allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses suggests this issue probably won’t get addressed this session.”

Rubio, Scott, and Fried were at least in the safe zone for Florida voters’ support, even if none of them were enjoying majorities.

Rubio’s job approval rating came in at 48 percent, with 34 percent disapproval.

Scott’s job approval rating was 49 percent, with 32 percent disapproval.

Fried came in at 41 percent approval, with only 10 percent disapproval. A large percentage of Florida voters have not yet formed opinions about her.

The poll did not test the job approvals of Florida’s other two statewide elected officials, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

“Rubio’s approval levels are comparable to previous polls,” Binder stated. “But the real surprise findings are Fried’s bipartisan approval; both Democrats and Republicans are approving of her in similar numbers.”

Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


  • John Kociuba

    October 24, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Florida

    It doesn’t matter what Hon. Governor Ron Desantis and true Conservative leaders try to do because Communist Demorats control Florida’s city’s abd tgerefore will eventually destroy the State. “The Specter of Communism.”

    • Jomarie

      October 24, 2019 at 9:36 am

      A poll from north florida lol. Trump Son Desantis is not popular. He is a Trump clon.

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 24, 2019 at 10:31 am

    HIGH. as in goptrumpCult kool aid high. Desantis is a traitor to his country and the military he served in. DeSantis is a dyed inthe wool racist

  • George Katsamakis

    October 24, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    More than half the people of this state are democrats that did not vote for Desantis in the last election. It’s delusional, a fairy tale, to think that they all now support him. I know I don’t. Neither does my wife. Are we the only voters in Florida who don’t? LMAO.

    As the republicans are so found of saying, that poll is “fake news”. A blind man can see it is so obviously biased in favor of the republicans, either that or they must have interviewed only people who support republicans.

  • Katherine Hooper

    October 25, 2019 at 11:51 am

    UNF’s polling is known to be accurate. They used a representative sample of registered voters.

    Any one person’s opinion is an anecdote, not a statistic.

    As for my personal opinion (not that it matters for the overall statistic), I did not vote for DeSantis and thought he was simply a Trump puppet. However, I am impressed that he is calling for raising teachers’ pay and addressing climate issues, things that his predecessor refused to do. I have even heard some of my very liberal friends praising him for these things. That is why he has bipartisan support at this time. So far, overall, he has not acted like the Trump puppet we expected him to be (and which Rick Scott is).

Comments are closed.


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