Democrats Rise In Florida Polls Against DeSantis & Rubio

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Democrats are faring better than some might have expected in key races on the ballot this year in Florida.

Highly watched races in the state include the gubernatorial match-up pitting incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist and the race for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, which features incumbent Republican Marco Rubio — who polling suggests is considerably less popular, including among Republicans in Florida, than DeSantis — facing Democratic candidate Val Demings. A recent survey from Susquehanna Polling and Research showed DeSantis leading Crist by four percent, which was within the margin of error for the poll, meaning the two were essentially tied. In the same poll, which featured a margin of error just over four percent, Rubio led Demings by three percentage points in overall results. An August 2021 poll from the same pollster showed Rubio ahead of Demings by 11 percent, demonstrating an obvious change favoring the Democratic contender across that period.

Throughout recent fundraising periods, the Demings campaign consistently brought in more donor money than Rubio. In another recent poll from AARP, DeSantis was ahead of Crist by just three percent, with 50 percent of the support compared to Crist’s 47 percent. In the same survey, Rubio led Demings by two percent, finishing with 49 percent of the overall support, while Demings got 47 percent. The margin of error for these numbers is evidently over four percent, making both races essential ties, per the results from this recent poll. “Florida suffers from a little bit of a bad reputation these days — and that’s probably well earned,” one national Democratic strategist recently remarked. “But we don’t get to pick and choose. It’s the third largest state in the country. We’ve got to compete, and national Democrats have to act like Florida is a swing state, because it definitely is.”

DeSantis originally won his current position by less than half of a percentage point, although in the time since, Trump increased his share of the vote compared with 2016 in the 2020 general election. DeSantis is widely considered a potential presidential contender, and his success in polling of potential 2024 Republican presidential primary fields suggests he would become the front-runner if he decides to jump in with Trump for some reason out of the race. DeSantis losing his race for re-election as governor would likely undercut any potential presidential ambitions.