Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has traveled across the Sunshine State promoting a partnership with the likes of Publix and Wal-Mart to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to the elderly. The state is also experiencing declining numbers of COVID-19 cases after facing weeks of skyrocketing numbers. After receiving praise for his speech at CPAC over the weekend, a new poll indicates that support for the Florida Governor is growing. This could be a concern for Democrats as several of his potential 2022 Democratic rivals have, who hinted that they could make a gubernatorial run to turn Florida blue, are trailing the popular governor.
In a new survey from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Governor DeSantis received an approval rating of 53%, and his disapproval rating was 42%.
In 2022, DeSantis will face reelection, and two lawmakers that are seen as potential opponents are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) and Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D), who has also served as Governor of Florida.
In a hypothetical race against the former Governor of Florida, DeSantis leads Rep. Christ 52% to 41%, and DeSantis also leads against Fried with 51% to 41% with 7% of respondents remaining undecided.
Fried has been heavily critical of the Governor’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the poll also indicates that Fried, at the moment, is not well known in the state. Of those polled, 37% admitted that they did not recognize her name compared to only 10% that said they didn’t recognize Rep. Crist’s name.
Most recently, Fried has also received criticism from the Sierra Club, a group dedicated to “help deepen the movement for a liveable planet, safe communities, and a democracy that works for everyone.”
In a 2020 Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services Report Card, the Club awarded low scores to Fried’s work as Agriculture Commissioner.
The Club expressed their disappointment in Fried’s decision to recommend “eliminating the FL Energy Efficiency & Conservation Act (FEECA) without a feasible alternative,” her “appointment of sugar industry lobbyists to represent FDACS on the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) project delivery team,” and her “appointment of sugar industry spokesperson to represent FDACS on the M-CORES Central-Southwest Connector Corridor Task Force” among other concerns.
Although Crist or Fried have not formally announced a gubernatorial run, DeSantis is poised to take a strong stance in his reelection campaign if his support across Florida continues to grow.