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Desantis Faces Challenges with Independent Voters – But There’s Plenty of Time To Fix It

A poll by Emerson College indicates that independents, especially women, are yet to be sold on DeSantis as president. But there’s plenty of time for the governor to turn an “unfriendly” media narrative around once he’s won the nomination, one analyst says.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Despite his popularity in the Sunshine State and far beyond, there’s one group of voters that may present a problem for Ron DeSantis, once he finally announces his presidential run: Independents.

Emerson College polled Florida Republican voters, and in this survey, former President Trump has a narrow lead against Governor DeSantis – 47 to 44 percent. But the poll also exposed that DeSantis may have an issue when it comes to independents.

“DeSantis has a potential problem with independent voters. Over half, 51%, of independents disapprove of the job DeSantis is doing as Governor. Driving these voters’ disapproval of DeSantis is independent women, 61% of whom disapprove of DeSantis. Also among independent voters 50% disapprove of DeSantis handling of education, 43% approve,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said.

Several strategists and analysts are concerned that DeSantis – with the eager legwork of Republican Florida lawmakers – is taking it too far to the Right, and that this may hurt him in a general election.

“In a way, the Republican dominance of the Florida Legislature may end up hurting DeSantis because his proposals can become reality,” Barrett Marson, a Republican strategist in Arizona told Politico. “That may help him in a primary in Iowa or Texas or South Dakota, but in a general election in Arizona, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, it could be ruinous for him,” Marson added.

Similarly, Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, argues that DeSantis’ huge advantage pumping conservative bills through the Florida Legislature and basically being able to “write his script for the next year in terms of policy direction” may end up hurting him in the end, saying “that may not turn out to be a blessing, ultimately.”

But Dough Heye, speaking to The Hill, argues that DeSantis’ primary mission right now is to get right with the Republican base so that he can win the primary. Appealing to independents would come later.

“If he runs, he’ll be in a primary first and that’s where his focus is and will be. In the meantime, most of what independent voters are hearing about him is coming through the lens of unfriendly media that spends a lot more time talking about book banning and Disney, than, say, job creation in Florida,” Heye told the news outlet.