While more than half of Floridians approve of the job Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing as the state’s leader, Florida’s GOP-led Legislature is having difficulty drawing the same support.
That’s according to a recent poll commissioned by Florida Politics and conducted by St. Pete Polls. The study polled 1,614 registered Florida voters from Feb. 24-25, with a 2.4% margin of error.
The poll found that 54% of respondents approved of the job DeSantis is doing as Governor, while 38% disapprove, and another 8% are unsure. That approval rating seems to be in line with recent polling from the University of North Florida, which found DeSantis as the choice of 55% of 685 registered voters polled between Feb. 7 and Feb. 20. Democratic opponents U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist mustered 34% support against DeSantis, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried drew just 32% backing.
To no surprise, DeSantis received his highest approval numbers from fellow Republicans — 83% of whom said they approved of his job, as opposed to the 13% who disapprove. A majority of independent voters also showed approval for the Governor at 58%, with 34% disapproving and 9% remaining unsure.
Democrats, on the other hand, gave DeSantis a 21% approval rate, and a 67% disapproval rate, with 12% unsure how they feel.
As far as the demographic breakdown, non-Hispanic Whites show the most support for the Governor, with nearly two-thirds of those polled approving, and roughly one-third disapproving. DeSantis garnered the least support among Black Floridians, with 21% supporting the Governor’s work and 66% disapproving, while 13% remain unsure.
Hispanic Florida voters, however, are torn on DeSantis. Of those polled, 52% of Hispanic Floridians approve of DeSantis, 41% disapprove, and 9% are unsure, leaving a gap DeSantis could tap into 2022.
Despite the Republican Governor raking in overall positive approval rates, the GOP-led Legislature isn’t seeing as much support.
The poll found 37% of Floridians approved of the job the Florida Legislature is doing this Session, while 35% disapprove. Another 27% remain unsure.
While the approval rate is slightly higher than the disapproval rate, the Legislature fails to mirror the same level of support as the Governor, even among Republicans. The response breakdown showed that among the Republicans polled, 55% approved of the job the Legislature is doing this year, while 16% disapprove and 30% remain unsure.
For Democrats, 19% approved, 57% disapproved and 25% reported being unsure. Independent voters, who notably showed over 60% support for DeSantis, reported a 38% approval rate for the Legislature, along with a 33% disapproval rate with 29% remaining unsure.
The race breakdown also showed more opposition across all different demographics. Hispanic and White respondents reported the highest legislative approval rate at 40%; however, Hispanic respondents reported higher disapproval rates at 38%, compared to 32% of White respondents. Of White respondents, 28% were unsure, while 22% of Hispanic respondents were unsure.
Black respondents had the highest disapproval rating of the Legislature at 47%, with only 21% of Black respondents approving, and 32% unsure.
The pushback on the Legislature could be a result of recent controversial legislation pushed by GOP-legislative leaders.
A recent poll from the University of North Florida found 49% of respondents oppose HB 1557, a piece of legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Another 40% support it, either somewhat or strongly.
Republicans frame the bill (HB 1557), sponsored by Republican Rep. Joe Harding, and a similar Senate version (SB 1834), as a parental rights issue. It would stop teachers from encouraging discussions about these issues “in a way that is age or developmentally inappropriate.” The bills were passing through committees with party-line approvals as the PORL poll was taken, and it has since cleared the House.
Among Republicans, 44% strongly approve of the legislation, compared to 19% of Democrats. When considering responses among the different races/ethnicities, Whites and Hispanics were similarly strongly in favor of the legislation (32%). Among those who identified as Black, just 26% felt that way.