Florida’s big city mayors best at coronavirus response, poll says

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Trump, Scott underwater; Jane Castor soars.

When it comes to coronavirus response, big city mayors are better regarded in Florida than the Governor, U.S. Senators, and the President of the United States.

That’s a major takeaway from a survey of registered Florida voters released Monday by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab.

While President Donald Trump, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and Gov. Ron DeSantis are treading water, local leaders receive high marks.

The poll shows the President underwater: 45% strongly or somewhat approve of the job Trump is doing with COVID-19 response, with 53% disapproving.

Rubio is at 38% approval and 35% disapproval. Scott, who has drawn negative publicity for the state’s failed unemployment insurance system, is underwater: 39% disapproval, 37% approval.

DeSantis is the best of the bunch, at 51% approval, with 46% disapproving.

In most public polls of his 16 months in office, DeSantis has fared better, but he has faced increasingly tough news cycles as his administration has struggled with communicating various aspects of the state’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

Ongoing issues with the state’s “stay-at-home” order, including a host of carveouts, as well as his administration’s floundering to find a solution to what he called a “crush” of unemployment applications, have taken their toll.

Direct criticism from Florida Democrats and certain corners of the media has found its way to the national stage, especially as DeSantis dithered in closing beaches and taking other actions to promote social distancing.

Compared to the host of public relations issues faced by those four elected officials, locals are performing strong.

Performing the best with her constituents: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who had a 78% approval rating against just 8% disapproval.

Other leaders are likewise overwhelmingly in positive territory.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez had 68% approval and 15% disapproval in his market, giving him a solid +53.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, though at 70% approval, also has the highest disapproval of the local leaders polled with 24%.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, at only +42, is the lowest performer of the quartet: 61% approval, 19% disapproval.

Republican or Democrat, one thing applies to all four: they were willing to institute restrictions on movement and commerce days ahead of the state in efforts to flatten the curve.

Survey respondents seem to want decisive action from leaders.

A majority of those polled believe that state governments and the feds have not done enough to combat the critics; 57% and 55%, respectively.

Meanwhile, just 43% believe local governments have been lacking.

“Relative to Trump and DeSantis’ support, mayors and local government have filled the
leadership void and been rewarded with high levels of support,” UNF PORL polling director Michael Binder noted.

The email survey was conducted between Mar. 31 and Apr. 4, with oversampling of the metro areas within the survey.

The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/-1.7 percentage points.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    April 6, 2020 at 7:24 am

    The 3 stooges Desantis Scott and Rubio will live and die as losers. Scott you sir have already killed more folks cause of the nazi practices you used as ceo of Columbia hca. Lootin Lenny half hardly tries. Thanks for so little.

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