FAU Poll Shows DeSantis Leading Crist Comfortably in Race for Re-election

By Paul Owers | 10/21/2022

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Inflation the Most Important Topic for Floridians by Far

FAU Poll Shows DeSantis Leading Crist Comfortably in Race for Re-election

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is on track for re-election, leading Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by 11 percentage points and garnering strong approval ratings, particularly for his response to Hurricane Ian, according to a new statewide poll from Florida Atlantic University.

In the race for Florida governor, DeSantis leads Crist 51 percent to 40 percent, a survey of registered voters by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) shows.

The Republican incumbent’s overall approval rating was 53 percent, and his hurricane response approval was better at 63 percent. In addition, 66 percent of respondents expect DeSantis to be re-elected.

“The governor’s hurricane response received strong approval among Floridians, who most likely favor him in the upcoming gubernatorial race,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI.

The survey of 719 Floridians also revealed that inflation was the most important issue to voters by a wide margin at 36 percent. Threats to democracy was the next most important issue at 19 percent. Interestingly, only 9 percent of respondents felt abortion access was an important issue.

In the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Marco Rubio leads Democratic challenger Val Demings 48 percent to 42 percent, with 7 percent still undecided. Also, 60 percent of respondents expect Rubio to be re-elected.

“Republicans continue to perform well in Florida,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., a professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the initiative. “If these numbers hold, Florida’s status as a battleground state might be in question.”

Wagner noted that both Democratic candidates are doing well with younger voters, but they will need higher turnout to close the gaps in these races.

Other findings showed that respondents favored DeSantis and former U.S. President Donald Trump to U.S. President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2024 matchup. DeSantis leads Biden 48 percent to 42 percent, while Trump tops Biden 45 percent to 41 percent.

Biden’s approval rating was underwater – 41 percent favored the job he is doing and 50 percent opposed.

Roughly 34 percent of respondents indicated the recent FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago makes them less likely to support Trump if he runs again in 2024. A third of respondents said the raid would make them more likely to support Trump, while 33 percent said it would not make a difference.

The survey was conducted Oct. 12-16. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.65 percentage points. The data was weighted by ethnicity, age, education, party affiliation, region and gender, based on 2020 turnout modeling. Data was collected using cell phones, land lines and an online panel provided by Dynata. The polling results and full cross-tabulations are available by clicking here.