Pollsters across the Sunshine State incorrectly predicted Ron DeSantis would sorely lose to Andrew Gillum in the 2018 Florida governors race. Ahead of the 2022 midterm election, the numbers once again seem to be in favor of DeSantis’s competition.
According to a survey released by St. Pete Polls on Tuesday, former Florida governor and party-flipper Rep. Charlie Crist (D) nudged slightly past current Gov. DeSantis (R). The survey found 45 percent of participants would vote for Crist and 44 percent would vote for for DeSantis.
St. Pete Polls, which polled more than 3,900 respondents on Monday and Tuesday, noted that Crist’s lead was within the survey’s margin of error of 1.6 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
Flashback to 2018, St. Pete Polls repeatedly found that voters favored Gillum, whose career was later marred by an incident in which he was found inebriated in a hotel room with two other men and baggies of crystal meth.
St. Pete Polls projected Gillum winning by five points. When the votes were all cast however, DeSantis narrowly edged out Gillum in the state’s gubernatorial race by less than half a percentage point — 49.6 percent to Gillum’s 49.2 percent.
As for the new poll, at least 11 percent of voters still have not decided between DeSantis and Crist. If the race were between DeSantis and Nikki Fried, 45 percent said they would choose DeSantis and nearly 42 percent said they would pick Fried.
In a report by the Hill, DeSantis’s supposed decline in support was correlated with growing scrutiny of his handling of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report:
While DeSantis has attracted support from fellow conservatives for his hands-off approach to the pandemic, including resisting calls for new mask mandates and lockdowns, his actions amid worsening case and hospitalization numbers have fueled more fervent criticism from his opponents.
Crist recently criticized DeSantis for his pandemic response and called on him to mandate vaccines for state employees.
“The way to stamp out the virus, and protect our public health, economy, and our jobs, is to get everyone vaccinated,” Crist said on Tuesday.
Notably, Florida was the number one state people moved to in 2020. A large percentage of new residents reportedly moved to the Sunshine State to escape the fallout of poor pandemic policy in other states.