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Ron DeSantis is a Conservative Republican Governor Enjoying Widespread Appeal

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) should be on your radar if he isn’t already.

DeSantis began his tenure as Florida’s 46th governor pledging less governmental interference in the lives of his constituents.

He said, “I take the helm of the ship of state as a Florida native, as a veteran of our nation’s military, conscious of my own deficiencies, mindful of the great trust that has been placed in me and thankful to so many of you who have prayed for me.”

“Our rights are endowed by God, not government; that we the people loan power to government under the Constitution in order to protect our rights,” DeSantis added. “That government’s role is not to run our lives for us but to provide what Lincoln called an ‘open field and fair chance for one’s industry, enterprise and intelligence.'”

A new poll from Pulse Opinion Research by U.S. Term Limits found DeSantis, who was sworn in on January 8, 2019, is enjoying high favorability across political and demographic lines—with 64 percent of those voters polled approving of his job so far. Only 24 percent of voters polled disapprove of his tenure thus far.

The poll also notes that he enjoys high marks from Republicans—with 85 percent of those voters approving of his job thus far—compared to 10 percent who disapprove of his agenda. 60 percent of independent voters approve of DeSantis’ agenda compared to 23 percent who don’t. And surprisingly, 46 percent of Democrats polled approve of DeSantis’ job so far—compared to 39 percent who disapprove.

With respect to voter demographics, DeSantis enjoys 62 percent approval from Hispanic voters, 68 percent of approval from white voters, and even 46 percent approval from African American voters.

The poll sampled 800 likely Florida voters between February 15-17, 2019, using an automated polling methodology.

What explains DeSantis’ widespread appeal across political and demographic lines despite his conservative bonafides? Within days of being sworn in, the former Congressman from Florida’s 6th District got moving on shaking things up in Tallahassee. Despite only winning by 0.4%, the Navy veteran appears to be proving detractors wrong—especially those who didn’t vote for him.

He’s taken on the sugar industry and a firm stand for Everglades restoration—which shouldn’t be a partisan stance. Tackling toxic algae blooms became a cause célèbre and deciding factor for Florida voters—with DeSantis demonstrating more genuine concern for Florida’s water quality than his Democrat opponent, Andrew Gillum. Plus, it’s doubtful many Florida voters wanted a Democratic Socialist who was keen on reinstating a state income tax.

DeSantis has largely departed from his Republican counterparts by not being a crony. He removed corrupt Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and replaced him with a true reformer. The Florida Supreme Court just unanimously approved his request for a grand jury investigation into school safety, especially since Broward Police Department ignored warning signs and repeated complaints about the Valentine’s Day 2018 killer. He’s tackling cronyism by rescinding many of former Governor Rick Scott’s crony appointments. He threatened a boycott of Airbnb in Florida should it discriminate Jewish users in the West Bank. Without emboldening powerful teachers unions, DeSantis announced $422 million in additional money for the best and brightest teachers and principals in the Sunshine State. He’s requesting Florida be home to the prospective Space Force. And so much more.

Many political prognosticators forecasted a DeSantis loss leading up to Election Day 2018. They accused him of racism, said he lacked the temperament to govern, and accused him of being an extremist.

Those detractors were very wrong. While it is still early to assess the lasting impact of the DeSantis Administration, it can be argued he’s doing a decent job of staying focused, reforming Tallahassee, and bringing Floridians together.

If all goes south in many states, many will look to Florida as a refuge with Governor DeSantis at the helm. The future of the Republican Party rests in younger, more principled conservatives who can govern and bring people together. That future looks bright with DeSantis helping to lead the way.

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