Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is 14 points ahead of his Democratic opponent in a new poll — in a race that Democrat Charlie Crist warns could set the table for a presidential run by his opponent.
Most Floridians have already made up their minds, according to research from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida. Only 4 percent said they were undecided and less than 1 percent said they would vote for another candidate.
It comes days after a debate in which DeSantis declined to run for a four-year term amid speculation he could run for the Republican nomination in 2024 — something he declined to articulate despite interest from former President Donald Trump. Close.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leads former Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist 53-39 in the new poll released Wednesday
He leads his Democratic opponent 53-39 in the new poll, bringing his average poll lead to 11 percent in the RealClearPolitics poll average.
Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio runs a similar margin to Democratic Rep. Val Demings, leading her 54 to 43.
“The surprise in these numbers is that a statewide race in Florida is closer to a tire blowout than to a recount,” said Dr. Michael Binder, the faculty director of the research lab that conducted the poll.
“Florida has become a red state, it will probably take an exceptionally weak Republican candidate for Democrats to win statewide — and Rubio is not a weak candidate,” he told the paper. Democrat of Tallahassee.
During the debate, Crist repeatedly pressed the governor about his political ambitions and whether he would spend all four years of his term in office at the governor’s mansion.
A blowout victory by DeSantis would only bring further focus to his potential presidential prospects, in a state borne by former President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden is going to Florida next week to hold both a rally and a fundraiser for Crist, a former Democratic congressman who served a term as Florida governor as a Republican and an Independent.
It will return him to a state he visited while accompanied by DeSantis after Hurricane Ian struck down the state’s Gulf Coast.
“Why don’t you look the people of the state of Florida in the eye and say that if you’re re-elected, you’ll serve a full four-year term as governor,” Crist asked his rival.
“Will you serve a full four-year term if you are re-elected governor of Florida? It’s not a difficult question. It’s a fair question.’
DeSantis took a long pause as the debate crowd cheered the question.
“I know Charlie is interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I want to make things very, very clear,” DeSantis retorted. “The only worn out old donkey I want to put out in the pasture is Charlie Crist.”
In another recent poll released Friday by Florida Atlantic University, DeSantis held a 51-40 lead among likely voters. Rubio’s lead over Demings was tighter – he led the former sheriff from 48 to 42 percent.