Jacksonville, Fl — One week from Florida’s Primary Election Day and a new snapshot shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried now leading Charlie Crist. It’s a dramatic reversal over a February poll by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida. At the time, Crist was ahead by 8 points.
Women are almost 20 points more likely to vote for Fried, according to the poll. Still, Fried and Crist both trail Governor DeSantis head to head match-ups.
“Fried seems to have reversed the eight-point lead that Crist had when we asked registered Democrats about vote choice in February,” said Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and UNF professor of political science. “It’s possible that the overturning of Roe v. Wade changed the make-up of this race, and has particularly energized women that are almost 20 points more likely to vote for her.”
In the race for U.S. Senate, an overwhelming majority indicated a vote for Val Demings at 80%, with William Sanchez and Brian Rush tied in a distant second with 4% each. Two percent indicated a vote for Ricardo de la Fuente, and 10% didn’t know or refused.
Demings also comes out on top in a head-to-head matchup against incumbent Marco Rubio, with 48% indicating a vote for Demings and 44% for Rubio. 7% said they would vote for someone else.
Registered Republicans were also asked who they would vote for in a hypothetical presidential primary in 2024 between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. Of those respondents, 47% said they would vote for DeSantis and 45% for Trump; 7% said they would vote for someone else.
“DeSantis and Trump are the two most popular Republican names being discussed for 2024 and DeSantis is edging him out in their home state,” said Binder. “People are split on whether Trump and DeSantis are friends or merely acquaintances, I guess we’ll really find out after the midterms and the 2024 race starts to heat up.”
The poll also found President Biden has an approval rating of 38%, with 59% disapproving. The U.S. Supreme Court had similarly low approval, with 37% approving and 59% disapproval.
Governor DeSantis had an approval rating of 50%, down from 58% in February of this year. Forty-five percent said they approve strongly of the job DeSantis is doing, while only 5% said they approve somewhat.
Respondents were also asked about the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. When asked how this decision would impact their voting behavior, 51% said made them more likely to vote in the November midterm election, 46% said it would not affect their decision to vote, and 3% said it would make them less likely to vote.
In a related question, respondents were asked if they would support a law making abortion illegal in all cases in the State of Florida, to which the majority (59%) said they would be strongly opposed, and 12% somewhat opposed. Twenty-seven percent said they would support such a law: 13% strongly and 14% somewhat.
“Without the protections of Roe, the likelihood of a strict or outright ban on abortion being introduced in Florida increases dramatically, and this looks to be mobilizing Democrats to the polls—78% said the decision made them more likely to vote in November,” noted Binder. “But among Republicans, most (54%) said they are at least somewhat supportive of an outright ban.”
When asked what they think is the most important problem facing Florida today, a notable 43% of respondents said cost of living was the most pressing issue. Tied in a distant second place are education and abortion/reproductive rights, each with 8%.
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