The coronavirus pandemic may have been the best thing that ever happened to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
According to the latest polls, his approval rating among Florida voters is 53%, up from 45% in July. This is no small feat in a state as diverse as Florida.
DeSantis, an ardent Trump supporter, gained popularity over the past year thanks to his strict legislation in the wake of George Floyd and his laissez-faire approach to COVID-19.
His handling of the pandemic was so successful that it convinced Republicans to move CPAC (a conservative political conference) from Washington, DC to Orlando this year.
Speaking last week at the event, DeSantis described Florida as an “oasis of freedom.”
Days later, he criticized Democrats’ $1.9 trillion relief package as unfair because it hands out federal aid based on unemployment.
“You shouldn’t be penalizing states for doing a good job, which is exactly what this bill does,” said DeSantis. “Instead of using the share of the population, they are using the number of unemployed in the state, which means states like Florida that have lower unemployment are getting penalized.”
As a Florida resident, I can say that almost everyone I know (including myself) has remained employed throughout the pandemic. Some of my colleagues have even been able to increase their paychecks by working for delivery services.
DeSantis is in a strong position to win the gubernatorial election next year, but he is also considered a contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
According to a poll conducted at CPAC, DeSantis is the Party’s second-favorite choice for its 2024 presidential nomination (behind Donald Trump). In a hypothetical race without Trump, support for DeSantis increased to 43%.
A separate poll concerning the gubernatorial election shows DeSantis winning with more than 50% support in races against potential rivals Nikki Fried, the state Agriculture Commissioner, and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), who served as Governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011.
Among independent voters, DeSantis defeats Fried 58% to 29% and squashes Crist 60% to 28%.