Forget about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ dwindling approval rating. He’s rebounded, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll and now is looked on approvingly by 53 percent of the registered voters surveyed.
Not only that, the governor appears well-positioned for re-election next year. He leads Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried by a margin of 51 percent to 42 percent, and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (a former GOP governor who switched parties) by 52 percent to 41 percent.
“Voters are split along predictable party lines, but DeSantis builds his margins with strong showings among independent voters, leading Fried by 58 percent-29 percent and Crist by 60 percent-28 percent among those who are not party affiliated,” the pollsters wrote.
DeSantis’ favorables tumbled as of July last year as the COVID pandemic ground on, when 45 percent approved of his job performance and 49 percent disapproved. In Mason-Dixon’s follow-up poll conducted last month, 42 percent disapproved.
The governor found strong support everywhere but Southeast Florida, where only 34 approved of him against 58 percent who did not.
But in Southwest Florida, his approval rate was 64 percent; in North Florida it was 63 percent; in Central Florida it was 59 percent; and in the Tampa Bay region it was 58 percent.
Males gave DeSantis 54 percent approval and women 50 percent. Respondents below age 50 gave 49 percent approval against 56 percent approval among older people.
Black respondents were not sold — only 15 percent approved of DeSantis’ performance, against 47 percent of Hispanics and 62 percent of whites. Republicans approved at a rate of 89 percent, compared to 15 percent for Democrats and 59 percent of independents.
The results are based on a live telephone survey of 625 registered voters conducted between Feb. 24 and Feb. 28. The margin for error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.