In a poll that typically leans Republican, the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s first survey of the governor’s race has Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum leading former Congressman Ron DeSantis 47%-43%. Gillum has led in every public poll released since primary election day with this being his largest lead. Even more surprisingly, Gillum leads in every major media market in Florida except Jacksonville, an area DeSantis represented in Congress. The poll should be of concern to Republicans hoping to keep a position the GOP has held for two decades.
“Politically speaking, this is an interesting poll because most voters have learned a little about Ron DeSantis, yet most voters don’t know Andrew Gillum because he is a surprise winner and the most liberal of the Democrats on the ballot that ran in the primary election,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Strategy, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to be interesting to see if Gillum, who is backing policies opposed by Bill Nelson, yet supported by Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and George Soros will hold onto this lead while voters begin to understand his background and policies, or if Ron DeSantis and his policies will continue gaining popularity and propel him to succeed Governor Scott as Florida’s next Governor. The election is more than 50 days away and that’s a lifetime in Florida politics.”
DeSantis had a serious misstep the day after he won the Republican nomination when he made a comment on Fox News that was called racist by Gillum and other Democrats. DeSantis denied that saying Gillum would “monkey around” with Florida’s economy was racially motivated.
As the Florida Chamber poll suggests, Gillum starts with a blank slate for most Florida voters. That’s about to change as the National Governors Association begin airing a TV commercial critical of Gillum’s proposed policies including a $1 billion corporate tax increase. The RGA will spend $10 million in support of DeSantis, while its Democratic counterpart has pledged $2 million in support of Gillum.