Poll shows most HD 35 Republicans support Gov. DeSantis’ war on Disney

DeSantis Versus Disney
The district will host a Special Election later this year.

Even in the immediate area around Walt Disney World, most Republicans support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ongoing feud against the Happiest Place on Earth.

As Central Florida voters prepare for a Special Election in a battleground district, polling firm Victory Insights surveyed registered Republicans in House District 35. That’s a district spanning parts of Orange and Osceola counties, where Disney serves as the region’s top employer.

The Naples-based firm found GOP voters split in the Presidential Primary on whether they favor DeSantis or former President Donald Trump. But voters definitely favor the Governor over the House of Mouse.

Asked about the Governor’s recent legal fights with Disney, about 69% of voters said they support DeSantis’ decision to take on the company. About 25% oppose it.

The DeSantis administration recently sued Disney over last-minute actions by the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District to de-fang an incoming oversight board appointed by the Governor. Disney has argued the state targeted the major employer for voicing opposition to a Florida law derided by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Pollsters also asked about Disney’s recent decision to cancel relocation of 2,000 high-paying jobs to Lake Nona, on the edge of HD 35.

But most voters don’t believe that will have a significant impact on the local economy. About 62% of voters believe it will have no effect at all. That said, only 13% view news of Disney canceling its Lake Nona plans as a positive, while 26% saw it as a negative.

“While the vast majority of voters are supportive of DeSantis’s ongoing battles against Disney, there remains a subset of the electorate that is skeptical of the Governor’s fight. 25% oppose DeSantis’s legal battles, and 26% are concerned that Disney’s scrapping of their Lake Nona plans will have a negative impact on the local economy,” reads a polling memo from Victory Insights.

“Clearly, though, it would be political malpractice to side with Disney over DeSantis, as most Republicans in the district remain firmly in the Governor’s corner.”

The district remains split on who should be the 2024 GOP nominee for President. When asked about a wide field of candidates, almost 38% favored Trump and nearly 37% favored DeSantis, with the 1-percentage-point difference well within the poll’s margin of error. The rest of the field takes 15%, and about 10% are still undecided.

In a head-to-head between the two front-runners, DeSantis moves ahead, but the race is still within the margin of error. DeSantis sits near 45%, while Trump is above 43%.

The poll also found a Republican electorate opposed to abortion. Almost 66% of voters call themselves pro-life, with 18% calling themselves “strictly pro-life” and 47% considering themselves pro-life but favoring some meaningful exceptions. About 35% of Republicans consider themselves pro-choice.

The poll focused on the Republican electorate, but pollsters note this is a swing district. Rep. Fred Hawkins, a St. Cloud Republican, won the district in November with 55% of the vote. But in the 2020 Presidential Election, Democrat Joe Biden won the district by 5 percentage points even though Republican Donald Trump won the statewide vote.

Hawkins was recently hired as the new President of South Florida State College, and is expected to resign his seat this month, prompting a Special Election. Three Republicans — Erika Booth, Demetries Grimes and Scotty Moore — have already filed for the election, as have two Democrats — Rishi Bagga and Thomas Keen.

PollReport_June2023_FLHD35 by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

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].


  • SteveHC

    June 15, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    “Poll shows most HD 35 Republicans support Gov. DeSantis’ war on Disney” – Well of COURSE they do! They’re sycophants, and that is their #1 job and role in life, their ordained PURPOSE in life and the very source of their otherwise quite meager “joie de vivre”!

  • PeterH

    June 15, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Exclusively asking Republicans in District 35 what they think of the DeSantis v Disney war omits the opinions of tens of thousands Independent voters and Democratic voters.

  • Suzan R

    June 15, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    Hum. Republican followers of the Florida Grand Wizard support the Grand Wizard’s punishment of Disney for exercising their 1A rights? Sounds about right from the same “parental liberty seekers” who support one single extremist banning a book for the entire school, rather than utilizing their actual parental rights and deciding what books they do not want their kid reading instead of pushing their agenda on the entire school.

  • Tom

    June 15, 2023 at 1:54 pm

    Who care what they support – it’s a first amendment issue and rhonda is on the wrong side of it. God forbid it was the second amendment, there would be white people rioting in the streets then we’d have the embarrassment of using rhonda’s personal riot police to arrest them. Now that would be something to see.

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 15, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    So, Rhonda IS qualified to be President. President of HD 35 Republicans. Good for Rhonda. Good for HD 35 Republicans .

  • Tom Meahger

    June 15, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    It’s a cult. They would sacrifice their first-born or drink cyanide in the jungle for their leader, as long as he hates the same people they do. They are beyond reason, beyond hope.

  • Cheesy Floridian

    June 15, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    If this fight was the other way around and a democrat or independent were to attack a corporation with a state government the republicans would flip, hypocrisy at its finest.

  • M. Mouse

    June 20, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    A follow-up poll of all voters in that district would be nice. I think the non-Republicans residing there might have a different take on The Snake.

Comments are closed.


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