A new poll shows Gov. Ron DeSantis may be in trouble with independent voters.
Impact Research released new polling that shows Gov. Ron DeSantis remains a favorite for re-election. He leads Democratic nominee Charlie Crist by 5 percentage points. But that 51% to 46% advantage is within the poll’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error, which applies to each candidate’s share of the vote.
The survey finds DeSantis’ divisive reputation still could expose him to trouble in the General Election. That’s because independent voters strongly dislike the incumbent Republican. Voters without party affiliation break for Crist 52% compared to DeSantis’ 39%.
DeSantis will be the first candidate for Governor in Florida history running when more Republicans than Democrats are registered to vote.
But he’s still unpopular overall with those not registered Republican, the Impact Research survey shows. About 51% of independent voters have an unfavorable opinion, and just 43% view him favorably.
The Governor could also be vulnerable to messaging from Democrats that attacks him on abortion and affordable housing. When respondents were educated about DeSantis’ record on insurance (a matter he left to the Legislature in Special Session), abortion (he signed a ban 15 weeks into pregnancies with no exceptions for rape or incest), cost of living, and his treatment of broadly popular entities like Disney and the Special Olympics, enough voters move to turn the Governor’s race into a toss-up.
DeSantis called for lawmakers in a Special Session to strip Disney of self-governing powers and threatened the Special Olympics with a $27 million fine if it required participants in its national championships to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
A poll of voters after being informed of DeSantis’ record produces tighter results, with DeSantis under a majority with 48% support while Crist sits at 46%, within the margin of error.
Pollsters surveyed voters from Aug. 12 to 18, ahead of the statewide Primary that determined Crist would be the Democratic nominee. About 800 Florida voters’ responses were included, and pollsters over-sampled Hispanic voters, a group that played a role in Republicans over-performing expectations in Florida in 2020.