Poll: Ron DeSantis, Nikki Fried in dead heat

DeSantis Fried 3.25.21
St. Pete Polls find both candidates winning 45% of the vote in a hypothetical matchup.

Should Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried run for Florida Governor, she starts in a statistical tie with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

That’s according to a new survey by St. Pete Polls, commissioned exclusively for Florida Politics.

The poll found the incumbent Republican Governor and the potential Democratic challenger both taking about 45% of the vote. A close look shows DeSantis winning 45.2% to Fried’s 44.6%, a difference far smaller than the survey’s 2.2% margin of error.

The poll finds DeSantis holding 76% Republican support, while Fried has less than 72% among Democrats, showing the incumbent performing better with his own base. But 46% of independents favor Fried, compared to 42% who prefer DeSantis.

As one of the first publicly released head-to-head polls on the potential matchup, the results suggest another nail-biter election in Florida’s future.

FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics both include results from St. Pete Polls surveys in their nationally watched polling aggregates.

The only other poll taken this year included by either outfit is a Mason-Dixon poll earlier this month that showed DeSantis with a more comfortable 9-percentage-point lead on Fried; the same poll found DeSantis up 11 points in a head-to-head with Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.

Fried’s solid performance in this poll came despite St. Pete Polls pollsters predicting greater Republican turnout in 2022.

The sample for the survey, taken March 22-24, broke down to 38.2% Republicans, 37.5% Democrats, and 24.2% independents.

Fried, the only Democrat now holding statewide office in Florida, has openly acknowledged for months she may challenge DeSantis’ reelection. Both officials were first elected to their current office in 2018 — and both only after statewide recounts confirmed the results of their respective races.

DeSantis defeated then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes, or 0.4 percentage points, in the final count. Fried beat then-state Rep. Matt Caldwell by a mere 6,753 votes, less than 0.1 percentage points.

Those results bolstered Florida’s reputation as a closely divided state. But Florida also went to Donald Trump in 2020 despite Democrat Joe Biden flipping several other battlegrounds the Republican incumbent won in 2016. It was one of three states where Republicans improved performance over 2016. And notably, the state broke largely — if narrowly — for the GOP in 2018 for both the Governor’s race and a critical Senate contest between then incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and now-Sen. Rick Scott.

In 2022, another Senate seat, this one held by incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, will also be on the ballot.

DeSantis has also emerged as a national figure during the coronavirus pandemic, painting himself as an anti-lockdown conservative and faring well in some very early primary polling for the 2024 race for President, including an Echelon Insights poll released Wednesday.

But that has also drawn interest among Democrats who want to cut that run off at the pass by defeating the Governor in his home state in 2022.

StPetePolls 2021 State Gov … by Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


11 comments

  • Bob

    March 25, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    somehow I doubt this.

    • Carol

      March 25, 2021 at 3:35 pm

      Me too

      • Tjb

        March 25, 2021 at 4:30 pm

        I agree. Nikki should be 20 point ahead of Ronnie.

        • JRH4

          March 26, 2021 at 3:37 pm

          Think about where we would be with Gillum? LOLOLOLOL

          If we had a Democratic Governor we would be experiencing the same plight as New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and all of the other Blue States in lock down.

          THank you God for DeSantis!

  • JACKIE Hucorne

    March 25, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Ron DeSantis needs to learn that he works for the people of Florida. Not Donald Trump! Pull your head out of his A**. Do what’s Right. !

  • Ocean Joe

    March 25, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    Slightly overweighted .7 in favor of GOP respondents, Ronnie you better stay off of Fox for a few hours and concentrate on being governor of Florida instead of all the blah blah about critical race theory, Dr Suess, transgenders or whatever nonsense the far right is snowflaked about. I suspect rich folk jumping the vaccine line left its’ mark. Got called today by a Florida Politics poll, same subject along with the legislature and recent bills. Results should be interesting.

  • Arthro

    March 26, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Sure. Sure.

  • Jake

    March 26, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    The St. Pete Polls have been consistently favoring the Democratic candidates to the point were they’ve been way outside the margin of error in recent election cycles. The last poll they released in the 2018 gubernatorial race was outside the margin of error by over 3 percentage points. They were again outside the margin of error in the 2020 presidential election when polling Florida voters.

    TL;DR, Don’t trust St. Pete Polls.

  • Robert R Sands

    March 26, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    ANYBODY but Ronnie (Trump butt kisser) DeSantis, the worst governor in Florida history!

    • Sara

      April 6, 2021 at 9:48 am

      Really 🙄

  • Ken LaRoe

    March 26, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    So let’s compare. A fat, baby trump against a bright, articulate woman who has integrity. Seems simple to me but this is Floriduh!

Comments are closed.


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