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Jane Castor’s coronavirus response approval rating tops among Florida mayors

Castor’s approval rating is the highest in the state.

A latest poll shows Tampa Mayor Jane Castor performing the best in Florida in public opinion of her and others’ responses to the coronavirus crisis.

A University of North Florida and Public Opinion Research Lab poll out Monday put Castor at an overall 78% approval rating, with 56% of respondents strongly approving of her COVID-19 response and 22% somewhat approving.

Only 3% strongly disapprove and 5% somewhat disapprove.

That’s higher than any other Mayor of a major city in the state of Florida, including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

It’s also higher than all other state and federal elected officials included in the poll.

Sen. Rick Scott had the lowest approval rating at 37%. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was actually slightly lower at 36%, but most respondents indicated they weren’t sure about her performance, rending the results less scientific.

Sen. Marco Rubio came in with just 38% approval while President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had just 45% and 48% support, respectively.

Governor Ron DeSantis, who only last week announced a statewide stay-at-home order that many had been clamoring for, claimed just over half support at 51%.

Only Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s most forward facing public health officials responding to the crisis, performed better than Castor with an overall approval rating of 85%

Castor’s approval is not only an indication of her preemptive response to the global pandemic — she forced Hillsborough County’s hand in issuing a countywide order by issuing her own amid reluctance from other county officials — it’s also an indication of the national spotlight she’s claimed over several creative ways to engage the public on safety measures.

Castor has so far appeared on CNN and done interviews on NPR’s Morning Edition and with the online publication Slate. Monday she’ll appear on Good Morning America.

Slate highlighted the Democrat’s response to the virus in a state run by Republicans in her Slate interview, though she’s avoided criticizing DeSantis in all of her media appearances.

Instead she’s highlighted her administration’s use of social media including producing a series of Tik Tok video’s demonstrating the importance of social distance and proper hand washing.

The administration has also used Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to push social distancing awareness and support in an effort to flatten the curve in a city that’s one of the hardest hit in the state.

Monday evening, Tampa Bay area radio stations will also begin an evening dance party brokered by Castor’s administration in which all of the station’s will play the same song at the same time each evening in an attempt to promote community support and camaraderie. Listeners are encourage to go outside for the song to sing, dance and wave to neighbors, as they social distance.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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