It doesn’t appear as though Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis can blindly count on re-election when he goes before voters later this year. A newly available poll shows Democrat and former Governor Charlie Crist — who’s currently a Congressman — one percent ahead of him in a hypothetical general election match-up.
A “survey of 1,200 registered Florida voters conducted in mid-May by Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio and obtained by NBC News showed DeSantis earning 47 percent of the vote and his top Democratic rival, former Gov. Charlie Crist, earning 48 percent,” according to NBC’s reporting. To actually face DeSantis in the general election, Crist would first have to win the Democratic primary race for the state’s governorship, and it’s not entirely clear at this point who will actually win that contest. Crist’s likely most prominent primary challenger is Nikki Fried, Florida’s current Commissioner of Agriculture — and the only Democrat currently in a position somewhere in government elected statewide in Florida. A recent Fried campaign survey of 600 likely Democratic primary voters found Crist with 38 percent of the support and Fried with 34 percent.
There are, however, some caveats to both the Democratic primary polling and the newly available polling data covering the general election. When poll participants in the Democratic primary survey were provided with brief bios of both Fried and Crist, she thereafter led Crist by 17 percent — although pre-biography numbers show there were a lot of undecided voters to work with in the first place.
And experts are apparently under the impression a survey conducted as the Fabrizio one was wouldn’t fully capture the GOP lean of the state’s electorate participating in this November’s elections. “The poll didn’t screen for likely voters, however, and experienced political pollsters and consultants — including Fabrizio — expect the November electorate to be more Republican than a registered voter poll would show at this point,” NBC said, referring to the DeSantis-Crist survey. In addition, the margin by which Crist led the current governor in that poll is within its margin of error.
“According to four people connected to the governor and former president, DeSantis has not asked Trump for a formal endorsement and isn’t planning to,” POLITICO recently reported, perhaps suggesting that DeSantis is further angling himself to essentially go out on his own in national politics, although he remains very obviously in line with some of the key ideals of Trumpism. DeSantis has been floated as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, although losing re-election as governor would no doubt impact those hopes. Florida was one of just a handful of states where Trump got a higher portion of the two-party vote in 2020 than he did in the 2016 presidential race, so there’s clearly an increasing level of Republican enthusiasm there. And the fact that more Capitol rioters are from Florida than any other individual state has to say something about what’s taking place within its confines. But, millions of Democrats obviously remain there, and DeSantis initially won his current position by less than 0.5 percent — so there’s a historical precedent for things being close.