A new poll of the Florida governor’s race shows incumbent Republican and public menace Ron DeSantis losing to Charlie Crist, his Democratic opponent.
Crist is a now former Congressman from southern Florida, who resigned his House position amid the campaign. He also previously served as governor of Florida, although he held that role while still a Republican. In the newly available survey, which was conducted by The Listener Group, 53 percent of respondents selected Crist, and 47 percent went with DeSantis. Previous polling from the same source, including some of a larger sample of Florida voters, also showed Crist in the lead. Greg Fink, who was identified in media coverage as conservative-leaning and is with The Listener Group, pointed to accurate predictions from the pollster regarding Trump’s margin of victory in the 2020 presidential election in Florida and Crist’s win in the Democratic primary for governor this year, which wasn’t a unanimous polling consensus.
“They thought we were crazy,” Fink told Newsweek, per recent reporting. “Everyone thought we were stupid as hell. And we ended up being right.” DeSantis originally won his position by a margin of under one-half of a percentage point, even after Trump won Florida two years prior by a margin larger than that result, so there is a precedent for the governor’s race being close.
In office, DeSantis has led on so-called culture war issues, some of which have, of course, real and damaging impacts for the people swept up by his crusades. Just recently, his administration was behind a trip for dozens of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where local authorities weren’t provided with any advance notice and were thus left temporarily unprepared for the arrivals. Those on the trip were evidently dramatically deceived into joining the voluntary journey with false promises of assistance with housing and employment connected to those putting together the trip, not the officials and community members eventually filling in the gaps.
DeSantis has also fought against the imposition of restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to that end, he removed several members of a southern Florida school board who pushed mask-wearing policies anyway. He also signed legislation that restricts in-class discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, topics that teachers could easily talk about without involving explicit discussions of sexual activity. Yet, Republicans remain on an angry crusade to save the children from an essentially non-existent threat, when it’s children who are LGBTQ+ who are endangered, through threats to their mental health, implicit encouragement for bullying, or worse, as overzealous, activism-inclined GOP officials mobilize. If DeSantis loses his campaign for re-election, that would no doubt put a serious damper on any presidential ambitions he may harbor. Polling indicates he would essentially be the shoe-in should Trump sit out in 2024.