[EXCLUSIVE] The Governing Style of Ron DeSantis: Create the Public Polling Results, Don't Follow Them

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) speaks at a rally with President Donald Trump on July 31, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Ron DeSantis, the Republican former congressman from Jacksonville, was elected governor of Florida in November 2018. Since his election, DeSantis has governed in a way unique in American politics. At 43, he is the nation’s youngest governor, which may help explain his willingness not to play things safe. He’s seemingly taken the old quote about football and war to heart: The best defense is a good offense. In choosing a proactive approach, DeSantis has avoided the unforced errors seen from many Republican elected officials, who would rather avoid controversy than lead on the issues important to voters.


The result? He has outraised his three chief Democratic opponents combined by an order of magnitude. As of May 9, he had raised one-seventh of a billion dollars for his reelection, almost ten times the amount raised by the Democratic challengers:

Related: DeSantis Rising in Previously Deep Blue Miami-Dade County

In an exclusive interview with PJ Media, several officials in DeSantis’ office confirmed the intentional design of his governing style. Bryan Griffin, deputy press secretary for the executive office of Gov. DeSantis, said, “He doesn’t chase polls — and he certainly doesn’t let attacks from the media alter his course of leadership.”

Christina Pushaw, the firebrand press secretary, gave several examples of DeSantis governing counter to what opinion polls say. His policy on COVID-19 led the list. “By Summer 2021,” Pushaw said, “when he was preparing to issue an Executive Order to protect parents’ rights to choose whether their own kids wear masks to school, polling was published in Florida media indicating that the majority of Floridians supported school mask mandates. Governor DeSantis was aware of this polling, but it did not influence his decision, and he issued the EO to end forced-masking in July 2021 – before the school year began. While it was a controversial decision at the time, the governor’s reasoning was grounded in scientific evidence and his belief in parents’ rights. So, unsurprisingly, time has proven that he was correct. Now, the majority of Floridians agree that mask mandates are unnecessary and that children deserve a normal educational experience.”


Griffin said the decisions have had immediate results for DeSantis. “The governor’s leadership has attracted record numbers of people to Florida from other parts of the United States,” he said. “Florida is #1 in domestic net migration since 2020. Approximately eight hundred to a thousand people a day are moving to Florida. These migration patterns are a great testament to Governor DeSantis’ policies and priorities. He tirelessly works to ensure Florida remains a vanguard of freedom, especially in contrast to the heavy-handed lockdown states whose taxes, restrictions, pro-crime tendencies, and wokeness are driving people to seek a better life elsewhere.”

Related: Florida Democrats Terrified of ‘Unstoppable’ DeSantis

Importantly, while DeSantis and his office are aware of outside public opinion polls, they conduct no polling of their own. “Our office does not conduct public opinion polling,” Griffin said. “Governor Desantis’ only ‘opinion polling’ is when he is out among the citizens of Florida, listening to their feedback about the job he’s doing for our state, and hearing their concerns about the direction of our country.” Griffin noted this happens almost every day. He said the governor has held in-person events in every one of Florida’s 67 counties. The reason he does this, according to Griffin, is to get out of the Tallahassee bubble and talk directly to the voters of Florida.


“Much of modern polling is done with a bias or specific agenda,” Griffin said, “not to measure public opinion but to shape it.”

The hire of Pushaw in many ways defines the style of DeSantis. At 30 years old, she moved from Washington, D.C., to Florida on the strength of the governor. As reported by the Tampa Bay Times in 2021:

On March 19, Christina Pushaw wrote an email to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ then-press secretary. She was ready to make a move.

Pushaw, 30, a Washington, D.C., communications professional, was an admirer of DeSantis — and the way he dealt with unflattering press coverage.

She wrote that she was inspired to move to Florida because of how the governor navigated the pandemic. She was bothered by “pervasive … false narratives” in the press, she said, saying she wanted to do her part to prevent the “devastation caused by socialism … from happening in our country.”

“If there are any openings on the governor’s comms team, I would love to throw my hat in the ring,” Pushaw wrote. She attached her resume to the email, which was obtained by the Times/Herald in a records request.

During her time with DeSantis, Pushaw has reinvented the position. What was once a largely behind-the-scenes communications role has become one of the loudest pro-DeSantis drumbeats on the internet.

Pushaw has since gained fame for her no-holds-barred approach to social media, where she does daily battle on several fronts to, as she puts it, “debunk the false narratives about Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis.” A few examples just from this week:


Clearly, she has no fear of going on the attack against the governor’s opponents, who hide the intent of their attacks or attempt to twist his words.

Related: Florida Is so Red, Democrats Can’t Even Field Candidates in Some 2022 Races

Case in point: the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis and his press staff clearly believed the voters of Florida (and nationwide, for that matter) could see through the lies about House Bill 1557 told by the Democrats and their lackeys in the media. So they went on the attack again. The bill was designed to protect parents’ rights in education, ensuring kids wouldn’t be exposed to inappropriate sexual and gender instruction at the earliest stages of school — kindergarten through third grade.


“Before Governor DeSantis signed this into law, there was a full-court press from the media trying to smear and demonize proponents of the bill as ‘hateful, bigoted, homophobic,’ and many other false and hurtful epithets,” Pushaw told PJ Media. “Due to the corporate media narrative, many Americans incorrectly believed that the bill targeted gay parents. Simply reading the text of the legislation would have dispelled this misconception.”

Pushaw told the story of the disingenuous public polling done by the mainstream media:

But pollsters like ABC (owned by Disney) conducted polling on the bill without actually showing the text to respondents. So, unsurprisingly, respondents in the ABC poll said that they opposed HB 1557. Now we can assume that there was an ideological agenda behind that polling. In any case, Governor DeSantis ignored it and signed the bill anyway, despite all the hysteria and criticism. He works for Floridians, not for corporations or the media. Shortly thereafter, another poll came out, focused on Democrat primary voters in Florida. The difference was that the pollster showed respondents the text of the legislation and then asked for their opinions. The majority of Democrats (55%) supported HB 1557’s provision protecting children from inappropriate sexual content in the classroom.


She concluded by saying, “And of course, no matter what any polling said, Governor DeSantis would have made the same decision. He will always stand for parental rights and protecting children.”

Ron DeSantis represents what Republican voters have long sought in their elected leaders: someone who will take the fight to the opponents of liberty. Rather than the continual frustration of allowing the Democrats to dictate the terms of the debate, with public polling and media bias backing them up, DeSantis and his team have chosen which battles will bring victories in the culture wars, the fight for liberty, and electoral victory. In the process, Team DeSantis has neutralized the biggest institutional advantages enjoyed by its opponents.


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