Ahead of presidential election, DeSantis signature policy unpopular with Americans


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds a microphone and speaks to voters in Iowa.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaking to voters in Iowa on March 10 in Des Moines. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

If Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defeats former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, he may have a harder time winning the general election than his supporters expect. Latest Yahoo News/YouGov Poll.

More Americans oppose than support 7 of the 8 signature policies put forward by DeSantis in Florida, according to a new survey, with 36% supporting those policies that “the government deems inappropriate.” demanding revision of public school textbooks) to low. 21% (“to give political appointees the power to dismiss tenured faculty members of public universities at any time and for any reason”).

On the other hand, when it comes to foreign policy, DeSantis isn’t doing better.

“The United States has many important national interests, but being further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” Florida’s governor said in a statement last week. But Americans, by a two-to-one margin, see the dispute as a “Russian invasion of Ukraine” (56%) rather than a “territorial dispute” (30%). Not an American business. “

A man rides his bicycle past rubble and destroyed Russian military vehicles on a Ukrainian street.

A man rides his bicycle past rubble and destroyed Russian military vehicles on a street in Bucha, Ukraine, April 2022. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

A poll of 1,582 U.S. adults conducted March 16-20 shows DeSantis is on a bumpy road after launching his widely anticipated presidential campaign later this spring. suggests that So far, he’s trailing Trump to 47% in the one-to-one primaries among registered voters who are Republican or Republican-leaning independents, up from 45% in early February to 41%. We are down from a % lead. DeSantis (32%) lags further behind Trump (47%) in areas that include former Vice President Mike Pence (5%) and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (6%).

But one bright spot for DeSantis is his consistent perception that Trump is a weak candidate for the general election. When asked if they thought Trump was “the strongest Republican candidate for president in 2024,” only 32% of Americans (28% of independents) said yes, compared with 44% of Americans. % (48% of independents) said no.

Registered voters seem to confirm this dynamic, with 50% willing to vote for DeSantis (vs. 37% saying “never”) and 48% Trump. (vs. 43% who said absolutely not). Going head-to-head with President Biden, Trump now trails 43% to 45% among registered voters. In similar matchups, DeSantis and Biden are tied at 43% of him.

But most of DeSantis’ prominent positions are those he promotes in front of conservative audiences, the ones Democrats will inevitably seek to weaponize in the general election, and to favor opposition rather than support. It attracts and spells out potential problems in the future.

Below are the eight DeSantis policies (not attributed to DeSantis) that were poll-tested and the number of for/against among all Americans.

Only the last proposal (banning transgender female athletes) is more popular than unpopular.

After this policy test, Yahoo News and YouGov told respondents that “all proposals from the previous question were submitted or signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,” adding that “DeSantis is the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.” If so,” he asked again. Which of the following best describes the likelihood of voting for him in the general election?

The number of registered voters who said they would “definitely not” vote for DeSantis rose by 3 percentage points (40%), while the number who said they would “definitely” decreased by the same amount (40%). to 29%). — putting DeSantis on par with Trump in terms of electability.

All of DeSantis’ culture wars positions have been stressed to build his brand among Republican supporters, but they’re not as popular as the seven tested above.

Protesters stand in front of a building with a sign reading DeSantis = Death and Parents Against DeSantis.

Protesters as DeSantis speaks at an event for pro-DeSantis school board candidates in Doral, Fla., in August 2022. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the survey, Yahoo News and YouGov asked detailed questions about gender-affirming care. DeSantis is restricted in FloridaThe question is written as: The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this type of therapy, but critics say it’s dangerous for young people. Are you for or against giving Americans under the age of 18 access to gender-affirming care?”

In contrast, more American adults say they are against (46%) than support access to such care for minors (34%).

If DeSantis survives the Republican primary, he’ll likely reframe his most divisive stance in friendlier “parent-family” terms while emphasizing his other, more mainstream policies. ( teacher pay raise and protect the environment). He has pivoted successfully before.

But for now, the Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows some of the risks of trying to overtake Trump on the right. For example, on the issue of Ukraine, more voters (41%) agreed with a statement made by DeSantis (who did not name him) (45%) than said that the United States has many important national interests. On the other hand, … Ukraine and Russia are not one of them.”

Former President Donald Trump raises his left fist as he arrives on stage.

Former President Donald Trump arrives on stage at the Adler Theater in Davenport, Iowa, on March 13. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

Still, a margin of just 4 points pales in comparison to the 40-point margin of Mr. Pence’s next (unsourced) statement (65% for, 25% against). If Ukraine’s sovereign state is not restored soon, he will continue to move toward NATO allies. “

And neither of the following (unsourced) statements from former Wyoming Congressman Liz Cheney come close to a 50-point margin (70% for, 20% against): Surrendering to Putin and refusing to defend our freedoms makes America less secure. “

Last week, Cheney was at DeSantis’ The position on Ukraine showed “weakness”. Voters seem to agree. “Ending aid to Ukraine” is far more likely to be weak (50%) than strong (30%), and “Providing substantive aid to Ukraine” is strong (59%). More people think. ) than a weak (20%) position.


The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,582 US adults interviewed online March 16-20, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, voter turnout for the 2020 election, presidential vote, and reference political party. ID and current voter registration status. Demographic weighted targets are based on the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the most recent response from respondents given before March 15, 2022, weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (32% Democrat, 27% Republican). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to represent all adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 2.7%.