National,  State

DeSantis and His Rise to Popularity

In a new survey from GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been seeing a steady rise in popularity in the GOP since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This survey asked 208 likely-to-be GOP voters in mid-2019 the following: “If the Republican Primary election for President in 2024 were held today and the candidates were Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott, and Marco Rubio, for whom would you vote?”

In this 2019 poll, DeSantis was not able to snag the majority, as only 37% of those polled said they would vote for him. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number skyrocketed to 64%, leaving many on the other side of the aisle to wonder what campaign strategies must be taken to gain control of Florida in 2024.

As mentioned before, DeSantis’s rise in popularity started at the beginning of the pandemic with him taking a note from former President Trump saying that states ought not to go into a lockdown to keep the economy afloat. This strategy was met with widespread approval from Florida’s Republican voters.

However, DeSantis’s approval does not just stop with Florida. At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, a poll distributed among attendees heavily favored DeSantis as the frontrunner to win the GOP nomination for president in 2024, after Trump.

Although DeSantis’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida has heavily aided his rise in popularity, it can be said that his popularity as a Republican governor might be due to the downfall of other prominent Democratic governors, particularly Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York.

Cuomo has been under scrutiny in both the Democratic and the Republican Party after multiple sexual misconduct allegations and after alleged reports that his administration actively tried to change COVID-19 data such that his state’s nursing homes would appear to have a lower death toll.

Cuomo has repeatedly denied any allegations made against him and his administration.

The numerous allegations made against the New York governor had led to many notable faces in the Democratic Party, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, urging him to resign.

In light of these allegations, many in the GOP have been quick to point out the mainstream media’s treatment of Cuomo compared to their treatment of DeSantis at the beginning of the pandemic last year.

Before scandal struck him, media outlets such as CNN had praised Cuomo’s response to the pandemic, which included mask mandates and strict lockdowns. Meanwhile, DeSantis faced much criticism for taking a note from Trump and not forcing his state into lockdown, which many GOP voters found to be unfair.

Former California GOP chair and state senator Jim Brulte stated that when notable media outlets go after GOP members in an unjust manner, it must mean that that member poses a threat.

In light of this treatment and increasing distrust of the media in the GOP combined with DeSantis heavily favoring the economy during this pandemic, it seems as though DeSantis could win big in 2024.

Featured image: Ron DeSantis in 2018. Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license. (

Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.        

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