How do Florida voters feel about DeSantis’ migrant flights? A new poll weighs in.
An article by David Smiley with contributing content from Tripp Scott's Ed Pozzuoli
As Published in the Miami Herald
About half of Floridians likely to vote in the midterm elections are on board with Ron DeSantis’ migrant flights, according to a new poll that suggests the governor is cruising to reelection.
Conducted Oct. 10 – 13, the online poll of 685 likely voters found that 52% are voting for DeSantis, who with mail-voting underway has a 10-point lead over Charlie Crist (42% support). With Election Day looming on Nov. 8, only 6% of likely voters have yet to firmly decide on Crist or DeSantis, according to the poll.
The poll was conducted by RMG Research, led by conservative-leaning pollster and pundit Scott Rasmussen. It was commissioned by Tripp Scott, a law firm whose CEO, Ed Pozzuoli, is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Broward County.
Its margin of error is 3.7 percentage points.
The poll also gauged DeSantis’ decision to spend more than $1.5 million in public money to fly migrants from Texas to places like Martha’s Vineyard. Some 53% of likely voters at least “somewhat approve” of the flights.
Additionally, the poll, launched five days after President Joe Biden stood with DeSantis and praised the governor’s response to Hurricane Ian, suggests that most voters think DeSantis has responded well to the Category 4 storm. Some 63% of likely voters rated the governor’s handling of the storm as either “excellent” or “good.”
According to Pozzuoli, Tripp Scott commissioned the poll to gauge DeSantis’ “freedom” campaign and his pandemic-era decision-making. The governor has characterized some of his administration’s controversial positions on schools, law enforcement and health guidelines as actions taken to empower Floridians. The firm plans to create a “freedom index” with continued polling after the election.
“DeSantis took a lot of grief because he really pushed Florida to open up, and that made it a nice contrast to, say, what was going on in California and other states,” Rasmussen said of DeSantis’ actions during the early months of the COVID outbreak. “That’s a big part of the reason DeSantis is leading by 10 points in our survey.”
RMG asked if likely voters supported DeSantis’ early reopening of schools during the pandemic (70% in favor) or his opening of businesses (74% in favor).
The firm also asked whether Florida parents have more control over their kids’ educations than parents in other states, an issue that picked up steam during the pandemic after schools shut down and learning went remote. Some 52% said “yes.”
“The pandemic accelerated the views and exacerbated the differences between the different approaches of the states,” said Pozzuoli.
Among other findings:
- Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (50%) leads U.S. Rep. Val Demings (45%) by 5 points in the Florida race for U.S. Senate, within the poll’s margin of error.
- The poll contains an outlier: It found that Biden, who according to most surveys remains unpopular, has a positive approval rating with likely Florida voters. Some 49% approved of the job he is doing, while 47% disapproved.