OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Gov. Ron DeSantis got some more great news ahead of the November election, which is now roughly a month away.
The Florida governor is leading his Democratic challenger, Rep. Charlie Crist, by double digits, according to a new survey, despite being viciously assailed by Democrats and left-leaning media outlets for months.
The Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy poll found that 52 percent of likely voters said they plan to cast a ballot for the GOP governor versus 41 percent who said they planned to vote for Crist. That’s an 11-point deficit.
What’s more, according to the survey, DeSantis is leading Crist in almost every area of the state with the exception of the southeastern portion that has traditionally remained blue. Crist served as a GOP governor of the Sunshine State for a single term, from 2007-2011.
The Washington Examiner noted further:
DeSantis also enjoys high approval ratings in the state, with 55% approving of his job performance, according to the poll. Those numbers are expected to change in the coming weeks as the governor continues to lead the state’s response to Hurricane Ian, which tore through Florida last week and destroyed several buildings and left several without power.
Some have criticized DeSantis’s response to the hurricane, primarily pointing to the delayed evacuation of Lee County, which was hit hard by Ian. However, others have argued that local officials are responsible for making those decisions rather than the governor.
“I don’t think it was a problem, and, if it was, the hurricane just wiped it out,” Brad Coker, a pollster for Mason-Dixon, said, according to NBC News. “DeSantis is going to be Governor Hurricane for the next couple weeks. The disadvantage Crist has is twofold: He’s completely out of the news, and he never managed a hurricane, so he can’t stand up and point to what he did. So Crist is totally, totally defanged.”
No doubt DeSantis’ widening lead over Crist is due in part to the Republican Party’s successful bid to out-register Democrats in the state for the first time in its history, beginning last year.
According to state records, out of around 1 million new registered voters in the Sunshine State between October 2018 and July 2022, less than 18,000 of them identified as Democrats.
Meanwhile, more than a half-million new registrants during the same period have identified as Republicans, giving the GOP a substantial lead.
“The 2022 numbers show the state with 5,191,018 Republicans,” The Western Journal reported. “That means from the 2018 election until this summer, the Florida GOP added 509,420 people. That is an increase of roughly 10 percent.”
Conversely, during the same period, “Democratic Party enrollment rose from 4,962,064 to 4,944,867 — which is an increase of only 17,197 people,” the outlet added.
Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida GOP, said regarding the large increase in registered Republicans: “The biggest number in Florida Politics that no one is talking about: 17,197. While Florida has added 1,037,685 net new voters since [Ron DeSantis’] 2018 Victory, the Democrat Party only managed to convince 17,197 of them to register as a Democrat.”
“Governor DeSantis is delivering on the important issues, our Florida GOP County leaders are executing on the ground, and voters in every corner of our state are resonating with our record while showcasing a historic rejection of the Democrat Party,” he added, according to Florida’s Voice.
“And while the data is great, we cannot afford to let up at this point,” he said, adding, “The Florida GOP is committed to the fight and we will not take our foot off of the gas until Governor DeSantis achieves victory, freedom in Florida is protected for generations to come and the Democrat Party is extinct in our state.”
Other state Republicans commented on the remarkable gains the party has made in Florida in the age of DeSantis, including some who said Democrats were not offering residents much in terms of favored policies.
“The symptoms currently plaguing the Democrat Party in Florida point back to the virus that is the failed leadership in Washington DC and the disastrous extreme anti-American values leading the state and local Democrats further away from their constituents,” Lee County GOP Chairman Jonathan Martin said.
“Their entire platform is to be against whatever Ron DeSantis does, but they’re never telling the voters what they’re for, what they have to offer, and what they can do better,” state Rep. Spencer Roach added.