The man some call “America’s governor” appears to be Florida’s pick for president in 2024, a new survey indicates. Governor Ron DeSantis surged ahead of President Donald Trump by eight points in a hypothetical republican primary election, according to a new USA Today-Suffolk poll.
Forty-eight percent of Florida GOP voters said they would vote for DeSantis in 2024, compared to 40% who said they would pick Trump. The results reveal a reversal of opinion from the start of the year when Trump held a seven-point lead over DeSantis. A January poll from USA Today-Suffolk showed 47% preferred Trump, compared to 40% who chose DeSantis.
“A SEA OF CHANGE”
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said the results represent a “sea of change.” In addition to the stark difference from January’s survey, Paleologos referenced the President’s landslide defeat of Senator Marco Rubio during the 2016 primary, when Trump won 46% to 27%.
DeSantis has deflected questions about a potential presidential run in 2024, saying his attention remains squarely on leading the Sunshine State. He is currently running a reelection campaign against Democrat challenger Charlie Crist, who served as the state’s 44th governor as a Republican from 2007–2011. Crist flipped parties in 2012 and has served as a U.S. Representative for Florida’s 13th district since 2017.
2021: AN EVENTFUL YEAR
Both men have dominated national headlines for much of the past two years, and the first nine months of 2021 have been no different. Trump’s well-documented connections to Florida were thrust back into the spotlight when the FBI raided his home in Mar-a-Lago this summer. Despite his return to civilian status, Trump continues to hold rallies across the country, insisting Democrats stole the 2020 election. On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump for “years of financial fraud.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis’ battles against the “woke” ideology captured the country’s attention this spring when he signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, preventing teachers from teaching children under 10 years old about sexual orientation and gender identity. Critics, including many celebrities and Hollywood actors, labeled the bill “Don’t Say Gay.”
DeSantis even squared off against Disney, a longtime power player in the state due to its conglomeration of theme parks in Orlando, after the company spoke out against the legislation. The media blitz may have worked in DeSantis’ favor, as a Public Opinion Strategies poll showed that 61% of Americans supported the bill – including 55 percent of Democrats – while only 26 percent opposed it.
The governor’s decision to fly 50 illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard last week ushered in another avalanche of media attention. Democrats called it “inhumane” and “human trafficking,” while many Republicans praised DeSantis for exposing inconsistency between progressive rhetoric and action.