TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is sitting at a comfortable lead over his Democratic challengers for governor, according to recent polls.
One poll, conducted by the conservative-leaning firm VCreek/AMG for Americas PAC, surveyed 405 likely voters by phone between Sept. 23-27.
It showed DeSantis garnering 47 percent of the vote in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup with congressman and former governor Charlie Crist, who got 39 percent of the vote in comparison. The other 13 percent was made up of undecided voters and voters who said they would go with a different candidate.
Florida's outspoken Republican governor had an even bigger edge on Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who got just 36 percent of the vote compared to 48 percent for DeSantis.
Another poll conducted by BUSR/Susquehanna Polling and Research at the beginning of August yielded similar results.
It showed DeSantis leading Crist 46 percent to 43 percent and DeSantis leading Fried 50 percent to 40 percent in hypothetical gubernatorial matchups.
Both polls indicated that DeSantis' approval rating remains high, even as he's thrust into the national spotlight for his public feuds with President Joe Biden over pandemic-related protocols.
And despite swirling rumors of a DeSantis presidential run in 2024, the governor said, for the time being, he's focusing on his job and plans to run for reelection next year.
Fried, who is the only statewide elected Democrat Florida has had since 2012, visited Tampa on Friday to talk about her gubernatorial run and emphasize that she's not afraid of a challenge.
Fried promoted her plans for criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization and environmental efforts among other causes.
She also made sure to set herself apart from opponent Crist, highlighting her experiences away from politics as an opportunity for change.
"I'm not a career politician. I'm a career Floridan and a citizen and somebody who cares so deeply about the people of our state," Fried said. “We can do better than this. But it's gonna take a change of leadership."
Crist on the other hand is running on a platform of experience, especially during his time as Florida's governor from 2007-11.
This time around, Crist is using his experience as a Republican-turned Independent-turned Democrat to fight for a "Florida for All."