There was a time not so long ago when Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was seen by many in the GOP as a rising star who might even have a chance at one day becoming president of the United States.
But those days are long gone. DeSantis has repeatedly mishandled the COVID pandemic in his state, causing his support among senior citizens (a key voting block in the Sunshine State) to wane right as he’s gearing up to seek a second term in office next year.
And now more bad news has arrived for DeSantis in the form of a poll from St. Pete Polls which shows him running dead even with the likely Democratic nominee, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
According to the poll — which was commissioned by Florida Politics — DeSantis looks vulnerable:
“The poll found the incumbent Republican Governor and the potential Democratic challenger both taking about 45% of the vote. A close look shows DeSantis winning 45.2% to Fried’s 44.6%, a difference far smaller than the survey’s 2.2% margin of error.
“The poll finds DeSantis holding 76% Republican support, while Fried has less than 72% among Democrats, showing the incumbent performing better with his own base. But 46% of independents favor Fried, compared to 42% who prefer DeSantis.”
In a closely divided state like Florida, independent voters are the key to winning, and they favor Fried, which is very bad news for DeSantis, who has also been an ardent and vocal supporter of failed, one-term former President Donald Trump. Trump is not seen positively in much of the country, especially among independent voters or the elderly. That raises a larger question: With Trump now calling Florida his home and holed up at Mar-a-Lago, could DeSantis’ connections to the former president be politically detrimental to him as he seeks reelection?
If Fried does indeed announce a run for governor and become the Democratic nominee, she would be a formidable opponent for DeSantis, whose popularity is falling.
Even though the 2022 election is still over a year and a half away, polls are clearly showing that DeSantis can be beaten. And given his own propensity for making the wrong decision no matter the issue, his popularity will likely continue to decrease.
Florida may be on the verge of turning blue. That’s very bad news for the entire Republican Party.