Majority of Floridians approve of Gov. DeSantis’ job performance — though fewer than pre-coronavirus polling

Ron DeSantis Donald Trump
President Donald Trump's ratings are struggling.

Nearly 53% of Floridians say they approve of Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ job performance amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

A new St. Pete Polls survey puts the Governor at nearly a +15 approval rating, with 38% disapproving of his performance. The remaining 9% were unsure.

But the Governor’s net approval rating has slipped when compared to pre-coronavirus polling.

One poll from February had his net approval above 40 points. Another from January put it at a more modest +20. A St. Pete Polls survey from last August had DeSantis with a net approval of +28.

DeSantis has faced criticism — including from several Democrats — regarding his administration’s handling of the crisis. He was slow to issue a statewide stay-at-home order relative to other states similarly impacted by the virus, leaving many local governments to act on their own.

The state’s online unemployment application system also collapsed. While DeSantis has promised attention to the issue, hundreds of thousands of claims reportedly remain in limbo.

A FiveThirtyEight analysis of the approval ratings of Governors across the country showed those ratings consistently going up by double digits. The only exception? DeSantis, whose approval rating actually dropped by 7 percentage points.

DeSantis maintains a net approval of nearly +60 among Republicans. But he’s underwater with Democrats, at nearly -20. Independents give him a +13 margin.

Still, the Governor remains more popular here than President Donald Trump, who took Florida in 2016 and now calls the state his primary residence.

St. Pete Polls puts Trump’s approval rating at 49%, with 48% disapproving.

And on Trump’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak specifically, Trump broke even, with 48% of voters saying they approved of his handling and 48% saying they disapproved.

While Trump did act early on partially banning travel from China — where the virus originated — he hesitated for weeks before eventually issuing widespread social distancing guidelines, which many states have now adopted. Those measures appear to have slowed the virus’s spread.

Trump also repeatedly downplayed the potential danger of the virus and falsely claimed that anyone who wants a test can have one.

Separate results from the newest St. Pete Polls survey showed Trump in a statistical dead heat with presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The St. Pete Polls survey sampled 5,659 registered voters from April 16 to 17. It has a margin of error of 1.3 percentage points.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.


6 comments

  • Real talk

    April 18, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Try polling the people that have been trying to get unemployment.

  • Sonja Fitch

    April 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Desantis is going to be responsible for piles of corpses trying to please the sociopathic paranoid delusional liar antichrist trump! May 5 we peak. Betcha we will be number2. Just for the money and greed!!!!!

  • Nancy

    April 18, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Then they reap what they sow. They will change if more and more people die from opening up too soon. Thinking people better stay home. Don’t risk getting this virus by asymptomatic fools.

  • Ocean Joe

    April 19, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Top Ten Reasons Desantis has done a good job:
    1. He gives frequent press conferences to keep us informed and does not use them to attack others.
    2. If you dont like his decision on Monday, you can wait for a more informed decision on Tuesday
    3. He is willing to change his mind when the evidence calls for it (schools, beaches)
    4. He is supportive of lower levels of govt, mayors and county officials and works with them, not against them
    5. The fiasco of Florida’s unemployment compensation fund is the longstanding result of Floridians voting for low taxes and cheap hollowed out government that favors special interests, that’s not his fault but he is efforting to fix it
    6. He’s not Rick Scott.
    7. He’s got a Democrat running the emergency response
    8. OK, I ran out.
    After he crawled out of Trump’s hind pocket, he has shown some good leadership skills.

    • Calleen

      April 20, 2020 at 11:26 am

      I do agree with you regarding the FL low tax and then they wonder why there are no safety nets,,,,,education I think. However as a healthcare provider he does need to be more strict we’ve had 26,000 cases in 5 weeks, not over the flu season but 5 weeks and hundreds of deaths in 5 weeks not over the entire flu season.

  • Jesse

    April 19, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    How were the polls conducted?

Comments are closed.


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