Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nod in their shared home state, according to a new survey from Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy released Tuesday.
In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in the Sunshine State, 44 percent of Republican voters say they’re backing DeSantis, while 39 percent are behind Trump, according to the poll. Only 5 percent are supporting other candidates in the race, while 12 percent haven’t made up their minds yet.
The poll suggests that, even as Trump has picked up momentum nationally, DeSantis holds the edge in Florida, the state where he has the highest name ID and where his record as governor is known best.
DeSantis has yet to formally announce a 2024 campaign, but is expected to in the late spring after the Florida state legislature wraps up its annual session. Trump and his allies have ramped up their attacks on DeSantis in recent weeks, hoping to weaken him before he ever hits the campaign trail.
Still, 59 percent of Florida governors say they approve of DeSantis’s performance in the governor’s mansion, while 39 percent disapprove. That’s 4 points higher than it was just before the 2022 midterm election that saw him score a landslide 19-point reelection win.
Yet it’s still lower than the 62-percent approval he carried in March 2019, when he was newly inaugurated and still more than a year away from implementing the pandemic-era policies that endeared him to conservatives nationally and made him a pariah among Democrats and public health officials.
DeSantis remains significantly more popular in Florida than President Biden, however. Just 35 percent of Florida voters approve of Biden’s job performance, according to the Mason-Dixon poll. Sixty percent disapprove. That marks a 5-point drop in approval since February 2022.
When it comes to name recognition, DeSantis also carries a significant edge over Trump. Fifty-three percent of Florida voters say they view the Florida governor in a positive light, compared to 36 percent who see him unfavorably.
For Trump, the outlook is very different. Thirty-nine percent view him favorably, compared to 50 percent who see him in a negative light, the poll found.
The Mason-Dixon poll surveyed 625 registered Florida voters — including 507 Republicans — from March 27-30. It has a margin of error of +/-4 percent points, though that increases to +/-4.4 percentage points when only Republican voters are considered.