One of the more high-profile battles of the 2020 Legislative Session has been a proxy war between the Republican Governor and the only Democrat in the Cabinet.
That Democrat, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, has accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of being behind a “partisan power grab” that led the House to pass a bill to move the Office of Energy from her department.
“It’s a priority of the Governor,” House Speaker Jose Oliva said after the vote.
While it remains to be seen what the Senate will do, a new University of North Florida poll of registered voters shows Fried has a lot of ground to make up if she hopes to stand up to Republican hegemony.
The survey shows that the Governor is popular, even among Democrats, while the Commissioner remains largely unknown.
Of those surveyed, 64% strongly or somewhat approve of DeSantis, with only 21% disapproving.
Of those polled, 85% of Republicans are on board with DeSantis … as well as 46% of Democrats (against just 35% disapproval).
“Similar to previous polls that we have conducted, the Governor’s job approval ratings are quite high,” commented Michael Binder, director of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab, “The Governor’s focus on issues that draw support from both parties, such as increased teacher pay and the environment, has garnered support from Democrats and Independents, while not alienating his Republican base.”
With DeSantis set to sign bills for the base, such as controversial parental consent legislation relative to youth abortions, and pushing for a comprehensive E-Verify program that has been a third rail in the Capitol, he clearly has political capital to use.
But as his infrequent media availabilities have suggested, the work is behind the scenes.
And registered voters, at least, are fine with that.
Fried is also in net positive territory. Her net approval is strong: 36% approval, with just 9% disapproving.