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Republican voters prefer Casey DeSantis as next governor of Florida, FAU poll shows

In hypothetical matchup, GOP voters support DeSantis over U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Casey DeSantis 2019 AP photo
Posted at 12:31 PM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 18:46:41-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Could the DeSantis family remain in the Florida governor's mansion even after Ron DeSantis terms out of office?

According to a new political poll from Florida Atlantic University and Mainstreet Research, in a hypothetical primary matchup, 38% of Republican voters surveyed prefer First Lady Casey DeSantis as the Sunshine State's next governor over U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who picked up 16%.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.jpg
Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

Neither Casey DeSantis nor Gaetz have announced their candidacy for governor in the 2026 election. Ron DeSantis' term officially ends in January 2027.

In the poll, 26% of GOP voters surveyed said they "don't know" who they would vote for in a DeSantis/Gaetz matchup, while 20% said they would support "another candidate."

Read the complete poll by clicking here.

"There is clear interest among Republican voters in seeing Casey DeSantis run for governor in 2026," said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., the co-director of FAU's Political Communication and Public Opinion Research Lab and a professor of political science. "This poll also suggests that the race is still open for new candidates to emerge over the next couple of years."

Casey DeSantis, who finished chemotherapy in 2022 in her battle against breast cancer, has made mental health one of her top priorities as first lady.

Gaetz, a Pensacola congressman and ally of former President Donald Trump, has been mentioned as a potential successor to Ron DeSantis.

The FAU/Mainstreet Research poll was conducted from April 15 to 17 and surveyed 865 adults in Florida. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.3%.