DeSantis Expanded Lead Over Crist as Hurricane Ian Made Landfall

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

A new poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy published today shows incumbent Republican Governor Ron DeSantis holding a double-digit lead over former Republican governor-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, at 52-41.


The poll was being completed just as Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida. But as the pollster points out, the saturation media coverage of DeSantis prior to the storm gave the governor a big boost.

It also shows that voters weren’t concerned about DeSantis sending a planeload of illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard, despite the almost universal negative coverage in the national press.

“I don’t think it was a problem and, if it was, the hurricane just wiped it out,” Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker told NBCNews. “DeSantis is going to be Governor Hurricane for the next couple of weeks. The disadvantage Crist has is two-fold: he’s completely out of the news and he never managed a hurricane so he can’t stand up and point to what he did. So Crist is totally, totally defanged.”

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Democrats have been desperate to destroy DeSantis the same way they destroyed George Bush in 2005 with the president’s response to Hurricane Katrina. They even tried the old Katrina trick of pushing a narrative of failure before the storm even hit.


Florida Politics:

DeSantis leads Crist in terms of general favorability as well. Half of those polled said they recognize him favorably, compared to 39% unfavorably and 11% who held a neutral opinion of him.

Just 33% of respondents said they recognize Crist favorably, while 39% said they recognized him unfavorably and 22% had neither a positive nor negative opinion. Of note, 6% said they did not know of Crist, a former Congressman, Governor, Attorney General, Education Commissioner and state lawmaker.

One surprising aspect of DeSantis’s lead is that the last several races for governor in Florida have been extremely close. Republicans dominate in much of the state except for the southeastern Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Collier, and Monroe. It is here that Crist needs to run up large majorities in order to offset GOP strength elsewhere.

At the moment, Crist is not getting the support in those counties he needs to prevail. Just 53% of voters in those counties prefer Crist.


Florida’s electorate has been undergoing a significant shift in recent years, a trend that Democrats have generally waved away even as the voter registration showed that Florida was transforming into a red state. National Democratic groups, however, have basically written off the state and have only put nominal amounts of money into the state. This poll is just another sign that the GOP is likely to have wins up and down the board and won’t just win the governor’s mansion, but could expand its grip on the Legislature as well.


As a side note, money may not be everything in politics, but DeSantis has about $106 million in the bank while Crist has 27 times less — $3.9 million. He is outspending Crist 10 to 1 on TV.

Money, favorability, and positive ratings for job performance all add up to a victory that DeSantis likely hopes will propel him to the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.



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