DeSantis Crushes Trump in Poll of Florida Voters

March 10, 2023 by Dan McCue
DeSantis Crushes Trump in Poll of Florida Voters
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There may be a long way to go before the Florida primary — a full year in fact — but a new poll provides a tantalizing early look at a potential matchup between Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump on their home turf.

The poll of registered Florida Republicans by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab shows the state’s governor with a 31-point lead over Trump in a head-to-head matchup, and a 25-point lead when several other candidates and potential candidates are added to the mix.

In fact, with the larger pool of candidates, 52% of respondents said they’d vote for DeSantis, with only 27% saying they’d vote for Trump.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was a distant third, with support of just 4% of voters in the Sunshine State, followed by former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming at 35 and former Vice President Mike Pence.

No one else received more than 1% of respondents’ support. Meanwhile 8% said they did not know who they’ll support or refused to answer.

The other candidates in the poll were Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem or New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

“It’s not too surprising to see DeSantis take the lead among Republicans in his home state of Florida,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director at the research lab and a professor of political science, in a written statement accompanying the release of the poll.

“But it is interesting to see how his lead jumps up from 25 to 31 points ahead, once you winnow the field from 10 to two. DeSantis is much better compared to Trump at consolidating votes if the field were to narrow,” Binder said.

The poll was conducted between Feb. 25 and  March 7 with researchers contacting voters by telephone and through online surveys.

Of the 1,452 registered voters who completed surveys, 453 were completed via telephone and 999 online. 

The poll’s margin of sampling error is +/- 2.57 percentage points.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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  • 2024 election
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  • Florida
  • opinion poll
  • Ron DeSantis
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