Florida Influencer Poll: Legislative Session predictions

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Experts predict a great Session for Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Legislative Session is here, and Florida Influencers think that, come April 30, Gov. Ron DeSantis will be the big winner.

Florida Politics asked the state’s top consultants, lobbyists and political minds who stands to have the best Legislative Session and 43% picked the Governor. His believers include more than half of Republican Influencers, with just 27% of Democrats saying he’s their early favorite.

For the minority party, that honor goes to Senate President Wilton Simpson, albeit by a narrow margin. Three in 10 Democrats say he’ll be the clear winner when the hanky drops. More than half of independents believe the same while just 21% of Republicans agree.

Still, his 28% odds are double that of his counterpart, House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

About one in seven Influencers predict he’ll have the most triumphant Session. At 27%, his support was strongest among NPAs. Republicans followed at 16% and Democrats brought up the rear at 3%.

The case for DeSantis, according to one Influencer: “Overall, the Guv will have a good Session. His budget priorities will not line up exactly with the Senate and House but they will give him big victories in education (a small increase in per-student funding), the enviro (Everglades and blue-green algae), his anti-riot bill, and his budget will be enacted though at first it won’t look like it will pass, but he’ll get most of what he asks for. The Repub’s have to end the Session untied across the board and they will accomplish that.”

The astute reader will notice the numbers don’t add up to 100% — that’s because some Influencers think none of the three GOP elected will be the outright winner at the end of next month.

Some think the Triumvirate will share success equally, while others chose to write in another option. They ranged from the nihilistic (no one) to the humorous (Governor’s Club Lounge).

“Session is a black hole right now … no idea what is going in and no clue what will come out,” one Influencer said.

The only write-in to draw more than a single vote was “The Three Horsemen.” We assume this is another name for DeSantis, Simpson and Sprowls. If not, it appears a small contingent of Influencers envision an apocalyptic end to Session.

While Influencers weren’t asked to predict the arrival of The Three Horsemen, they were asked an equally unscientific question: Will Session end on time?

It’s normally a coin flip, but Influencers say the coin is weighted heavily toward “Yes” this year — 87% forecast a punctual Sine Die despite a couple of overtimes in recent years. Party affiliation had little impact, with 87% of Democrats and the same number of Republicans casting a yay vote.

Florida Politics also asked which member of the Cabinet would fare best this year.

Influencers leaned toward Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, giving him 35% support to Attorney General Ashley Moody’s 30%. “None of the above” placed third with 25% support followed by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in a distant fourth — just one in 10 Influencers think she’ll emerge victorious.

The Patronis pick is likely the safe one, considering his stated goal is getting COVID-19 liability protections on the books and those bills have moved through committee at a lightning pace.

Still, Fried did draw more commentary than anyone else in the poll.

“Nikki Fried won’t score many wins on legislation, but she’ll score them in her PR battle against DeSantis and the GOP. Their agenda this year seems to center around politically charged garbage legislation like HB 1. They’re playing to an audience of one — Trump. That will provide Nikki Fried with endless ammunition to raise her profile by fighting against dumb and oppressive legislation which does nothing to solve the problems voters care about,” one Influencer said.


The Influencers who took part in this survey: Anna Alexopoulos-Farrar, Phil Ammann, Allison Aubuchon, Roger Austin, Mario Bailey, Geoffrey Becker, Wayne Bertsch, Amanda Bevis, Alexandria Bickley, Taylor Biehl, Barney Bishop, Katie Bohnett, Ron Book, Reggie Cardozo, Kevin Cate, James Chan, Brad Coker, Gus Corbella, Kevin Craig, Husein Cumber, Jim Daughton, Juan Del Cerro, Richard DeNapoli, Pablo Diaz, Victor DiMaio, Pete Dunbar, Barry Edwards, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Jake Farmer, Mark Ferrulo, Damien Filer, Matt Florell, Towson Fraser, Don Gaetz, Adam Giery, Marion Hammer, Jeff Hartley, Rich Heffley, Cynthia Henderson, Jim Horne, Yolanda Jackson, Jeff Johnson, David Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Stafford Jones, Todd Josko, Fred Karlinsky, Micah Ketchel, Jackie Lee, John Lux, Roly Marante, Tracy Mayernick, Kathy Mears, Tim Nungesser, Sal Nuzzo, Meredith O’Rourke, Edie Ousley, Jenna Paladino, Alex Patton, Sean Phillippi, Ron Pierce, Evan Power, Cissy Proctor, Bert Ralston, David Ramba, Emmett Reed, Marc Reichelderfer, Jim Rimes, Ashley Ross, Evan Ross, Preston Rudie, Elnatan Rudolph, Ron Sachs, Nanette Schimpf, Stephen Shiver, Alex Sink, Sarah Suskey, Kevin Sweeny, Herbie Thiele, Cory Tilley, Kyle Ulrich, Christian Ulvert,Steven Vancore, Claire VanSusteren, David Vasquez, Ashley Walker, Nancy Watkins, Screven Watson, Christian Weiss, Doug Wheeler, Susie Wiles, Alan Williams, Christian Ziegler.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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