Ron DeSantis

As Governor Ron DeSantis prepares to deliver his first state of the state speech Tuesday in Tallahassee, a new poll shows 6 out of 10 Floridians support the new governor. 

The survey conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab shows Republicans give DeSantis an 81 percent approval rating, with 45 percent of Democrats surveyed giving him positive reviews. DeSantis won the November election by just under 34,000 votes out of the 8 million cast. 

“Gov. DeSantis is enjoying the honeymoon period of recently being elected. The question
that will play out over the next two months is whether or not he can translate his popularity into policy during the legislative session in Tallahassee,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “Having unified Republican government should make things easier for the governor, but as we have seen in the past, personal relationships can make or break the budgeting process.” 

The new governor has been aggressive since taking office nearly three months ago – unveiling new environmental and education policies and suspending locally elected officials for alleged abuses of their office. Personal popularity aside, House and Senate leaders – though from the same party – have their own agendas. 

Past governor’s have worked with the legislature in different ways. Former Governor Scott didn’t develop deep relationships with legislators often meaning key parts of his agenda were ignored. DeSantis has been busy developing relationships with legislators since he was elected. The natural give and take of a legislative session usually means no one, including the governor, gets everything they want.


The UNF poll also surveyed Floridians on issues that will be addressed during the 2019 60-day session. Those polled overwhelmingly support — 87 percent — smokable medical marijuana. Last year the House and Senate passed legislation that didn’t allow for medical marijuana to be smoked. DeSantis has indicated he supports lifting that ban. 

Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed opposed allowing concealed carry of guns on college campuses. And a plurality of Floridians – 46 percent – support allowing K-12 teachers and administrators to conceal carry on school campuses. 

The UNF poll was conducted February 20-27 and has a +/- of 3.3 percentage points.

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.