Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is polling far ahead of his top potential 2022 Democrat challengers in the Sunshine State’s upcoming gubernatorial race.
A Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll of likely voters said that DeSantis leads both of his Democrat opponents, Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist, by a wide margin.
DeSantis leads Fried by 11 points (51 percent to 40 percent). Fried has served as the state’s commissioner of agriculture after she was narrowly elected in 2018.
Fried recently criticized DeSantis for being missing while he accompanied his wife, Casey DeSantis, to one of her breast cancer treatments, tweeting that she would “show up” to work if she were governor.
Fried has also compared DeSantis to Adolf Hitler, saying that she thinks the two are alike “in a lot of ways.” However, DeSantis signed legislation in June supporting and funding Florida’s Jewish community and schools.
DeSantis also leads Democrat Charlie Crist, a congressman and former governor, by six points (49 percent to 43 percent).
Crist served one term as governor from 2007 to 2011. He has claimed to represent moderate voters in Florida’s 13th district in Pinellas County since 2017, however his voting record says otherwise, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Crist’s 2022 candidacy will be his third run for the governorship.
Many Republicans see DeSantis as a potential 2024 presidential candidate if President Donald Trump decides against seeking the White House. The Florida governor has also been considered as a potential vice-presidential pick on a Trump 2024 ticket.
DeSantis is running for reelection to a second term as governor. He was narrowly elected in 2018 during a Democrat-wave election, defeating Democrat Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than half of a point.
As governor, DeSantis has eliminated common core and critical race theory from schools, fought against vaccine mandates and requirements, and refrained from shutting down businesses, unlike other governors, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Floridians approve of the job DeSantis is doing in office (52 percent approve, 43 percent disapprove), according to a recent Susquehanna Polling and Research poll.
A vast majority of likely Florida voters also approve of the governor’s Covid-19 and education policies.
Another Florida Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio, led his 2022 Democrat opponent Rep. Val Demings by eight points (49 percent to 41 percent) in the state’s U.S. Senate race, according to the Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll.
DeSantis’ and Rubio’s leads over their challengers come amid Joe Biden’s plummeting approval ratings in the Sunshine State.
According to the Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll, only 39 percent of Floridians approve of Biden, and 53 percent disapprove. Biden also lost swing-state Florida to President Trump in 2020 by 3.3 percent.
With DeSantis’ growing popularity and the continued downward spiral of the Biden administration, Florida Democrats will have an increasingly difficult time winning in future elections.