Gov. Ron DeSantis’ opposition to sure public well being measures geared toward curbing COVID-19 has come to outline his picture and elevate him within the minds of many conservatives, who see him standing up for freedom and particular person liberties.
That would assist DeSantis in a Republican major if he runs for president in 2024, however current polling suggests the governor’s COVID-19 response shouldn’t be broadly standard, and may very well be a legal responsibility as he seeks re-election in 2022.
The newest in a collection of unhealthy polls for DeSantis was launched early this month by Morning Seek the advice of. It reveals a giant dip within the governor’s approval score during the last two months, a time when COVID-19 circumstances skyrocketed in Florida to document ranges and the state has been a nationwide epicenter for the pandemic.
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A Morning Seek the advice of ballot taken in late June discovered DeSantis at 54% approval, however he’s right down to 48% approval within the newest ballot of 4,174 registered voters, carried out from Aug. 21-30.
DeSantis’ approval score fell by three proportion factors amongst Democrats, 4 proportion factors amongst Republicans and 10 proportion factors amongst independents.
Simply 40% of impartial voters now approve of the governor, down from 50% two months in the past.
DeSantis nonetheless has stable assist amongst Republicans, with 83% approving of his job efficiency and 59% voicing robust approval.
But whereas DeSantis’ choice to experience out the most recent COVID-19 wave with none statewide well being mandates, and actively battle native measures to manage the virus, could have been standard with many Republicans, it infuriated Democrats and seems to have alienated a rising variety of independents.
The governor is constant to battle with college districts that imposed masks mandates in defiance of his government order, interesting a courtroom choice that dominated the masks mandates are authorized whereas stripping insurgent districts of state funding for salaries of college board members who defy his masks stance.
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A Quinnipiac College ballot from late final month discovered these insurance policies are unpopular, with 60% of voters saying they assist college masks mandates and 69% saying they oppose the governor’s efforts to dock college board salaries, together with 52% of Republicans.
“As COVID-19 makes a daunting resurgence, it is Tallahassee vs. the educating establishments,” Quinnipaic polling analyst Tim Malloy wrote. “Thumbs down from Floridians on DeSantis’ ban on masks necessities in public faculties. Thumbs down on DeSantis’ name to freeze pay of directors who mandate masks carrying. And he will get scant assist from fellow Republicans on penalizing the college leaders who defy him.”
DeSantis’ approval score has fluctuated all through the pandemic, plummeting through the spring and summer season of 2020 when infections spiked and DeSantis’ response drew robust criticism, however recovering in the beginning of 2021 as circumstances dropped and vaccinations took off.
Democrats could also be getting their hopes up that the governor’s present job approval stage makes him extra weak. However there nonetheless is loads of time for DeSantis to spice up his picture earlier than he heads into the center of the election season, and he has different benefits, resembling a political committee loaded with marketing campaign money and an electoral map in Florida that favors Republicans.
“Polls at this time actually don’t matter,” mentioned Florida GOP Vice Chair Christian Ziegler, a Sarasota County commissioner. “I feel the selections he’s making are making a Florida that persons are flocking to.”
Ziegler added that he believes the governor’s push to restrict COVID-19 restrictions is standard primarily based on what he’s seeing and listening to, which he finds extra compelling than the polls.
“I don’t actually take a lot inventory in polls. Simply going round city speaking to folks it’s very clear persons are glad Florida’s open,” Ziegler mentioned, including: “Now we have a governor centered on households, centered on freedom and defending our liberties and that’s going to go a great distance in November.”
Assist for DeSantis – particularly amongst independents – has tracked with how extreme the pandemic is in Florida in the mean time and the way vibrant the highlight has been on the governor’s response, or lack of 1.
The Quinnipiac ballot from late final month discovered that 55% of independents disapprove of how DeSantis is dealing with the pandemic, in comparison with 43% who approve.
However the state’s newest COVID-19 wave seems to easing, with statewide hospitalizations down from an August peak.
If the virus continues to recede in Florida, the political stress on DeSantis additionally may ease.
Observe Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson on Twitter at @zacjanderson. He might be reached at email@example.com
This text initially appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Column: DeSantis’ COVID-19 response thrills Republicans however is not broadly standard, polls present