Ron DeSantis holds big lead over Charlie Crist for Florida governor. Could Republicans sweep?

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a double-digit lead over Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, with Republicans looking poised for a clean sweep of state’s Cabinet offices next month, a new poll shows. 

DeSantis leads Crist by 11 percentage points, winning not only overwhelming support among Republican voters, but also proving the favorite of most of Florida’s always critical, no-party affiliated voters, Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy found.

DeSantis holds a 52%-41% lead over Crist, with only 6% undecided. Among voters not registered with either party, the Republican governor is ahead 52%-39%, the poll shows.

The Mason-Dixon results are better for DeSantis than other recent surveys in the governor’s race. Real Clear Politics, which tracks polling, shows DeSantis with an average 5.4 point lead on Crist in all polls.

DeSantis, seeking a second term Nov. 8, apparently is helped by a strong approval rating. The poll showed 55% of Floridians approve his job performance, with 42% disapproving.

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Mason-Dixon pointed out that voters were asked about the race Sept. 26-28, before the full effects of Hurricane Ian were felt in the state. The storm, clearly, will test DeSantis’ leadership along with Floridians’ view of the governor.

The phone survey of 800 Florida registered voters has a 3.5% plus-or-minus, margin-of-error.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a double-digit lead over Democrat Charlie Crist in a new poll.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a double-digit lead over Democrat Charlie Crist in a new poll.

DeSantis has raised more than seven times Crist's war chest

DeSantis, with a national profile and seen as a potential White House contender in two years, has raised more than $187 million, according to the campaign tracking site, OpenSecrets. Crist, by contrast, is powered by $24 million — with the disparity evident in the amount of television and social media spending between the two camps.

DeSantis has emerged as a virtually non-stop media presence, although both sides have dialed back on campaigning amid the devastation caused by last week’s hurricane.

Crist, who was a Democratic member of Congress from St. Petersburg since 2016 and a former Florida Republican governor, is making his seventh statewide run for office.

Poll shows Republicans poised to win Florida ag commissioner, attorney general and CFO races

But with just over a month until Election Day, the poll also points to the likelihood of complete Republican dominance of state government. Just as most recently from 2011-18, Republicans look set to hold the governor’s office and all three Cabinet posts, the poll shows.

With Democrat Nikki Fried to step down as Agriculture Commissioner after running unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary against Crist, Republicans hold sizable leads in races for attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner.

Attorney General Ashley Moody leads challenger Aramis Ayala by 50%-37%; Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is ahead of rival Adam Hattersley by 47%-37%; and in the open Agriculture Commissioner’s race, Republican Wilton Simpson leads Naomi Esther Blemur, 47%-34%, the survey showed.

Undecideds, though, are in double-digits in each of these contests, Mason-Dixon reported.

John Kennedy is a reporter in the USA TODAY Network’s Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at jkennedy2@gannett.com, or on Twitter at @JKennedyReport

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Poll points to Republican election sweep at top of Florida government