Floridians are split on their approval of Gov. Ron DeSantis — while 50% approve of his job with the state economy, half are dissatisfied with his role in unifying the state. That’s according to a new poll conducted by researchers from the University of South Florida and Florida International University.
The poll, which surveyed 600 Floridians from July 2 through July 10, found that while the Governor’s overall approval ratings have remained strong, there has been a slight decline in support from highs observed in an April poll. Quotas were stratified by region of the state for geographical representativeness.
Half of Floridians — 50% — approve of the state’s economy under DeSantis, with only 41% of respondents disapproving and another 9% unsure. But, that’s about where a clear approval ends, with most of DeSantis’ ratings split between Floridians.
The Governor earned low marks for race relations, with 46% of respondents disapproving of his work in that department, and 43% approving. And people were passionate about this topic — of all the options, the most selected answer in race relations was “strongly disapprove,” at 35%. That’s compared to a near-even split between “strongly approve” (23%) and “somewhat approve” (20%), and the more moderate answer of “somewhat disapprove” at 11%. Another 11% said they were unsure.
DeSantis saw his lowest approval rating in response to his work on climate change — 42% approved of his job on the issue, while 44% disapproved. Of note, 14% of respondents were unsure of their thoughts on his climate change policy.
Floridians appeared most polarized on the topic of COVID-19, with 33% strongly approving of DeSantis’ response and 37% strongly disapproving. Overall, more respondents said they disapproved of DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19 at 48%, compared to the 47% that approved. Only 5% of respondents said they were unsure.
Despite his lowest approval rate being climate change issues, Floridians were split with scoring DeSantis on his conservation and environmental policy. About 44% said they approve of his work in that area, while 43% disapproved, along with 13% who said they were unsure.
As has already been hinted at with the degree of responses, nearly half — 49% — of Floridians disapprove of the job DeSantis is doing in unifying the state under a polarizing time politically. That category is where DeSantis earns his highest “strongly disapprove” mark, with 39% of respondents selecting that option. In comparison, 43% approve of the job DeSantis is doing in unifying the state, and 8% are unsure.
DeSantis’ strong marks in the economic arena will likely help in the Midterms — 74% of voters saying they’re planning on voting based on pocketbook issues like jobs, the economy and inflation, while 26% plan on focusing on social issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights.
And with DeSantis acting as a head to the state’s GOP leadership, Republicans will likely see strong support in the Midterms, especially when looking at approval rates of the President, a top figure among Democrats.
The poll also surveyed respondents on President Joe Biden, with findings consistent with national polls showing a declining approval rate. President Biden’s approval among Florida voters continued to slip, as compared to the April survey. A majority of respondents now “disapprove” of the job being done by the President in all areas, with 63% disapprove of the job being done by the President on immigration and border security, while 62% disapprove of the President’s performance when it comes to jobs and the economy.
As far as specific topics go, the top three most important issues facing Florida, according to the respondents, are economy and jobs (35%), government corruption (11%) and health care (9%).