TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Ron DeSantis took the governor’s office in January after an extremely narrow victory over Democratic rival Andrew Gillum. “All I can promise is the sweat off my brow, a full heart, my best judgment and the courage of my convictions," he said at the time.
He’s since turned that small margin into a larger one.
From April to December, Gov. DeSantis has maintained more than 60% approval among Floridians, according to Mason-Dixon polling. December numbers showing only 26% disapprove.
“Even 40% of the Democrats approve of his governorship. That’s amazing, particularly this day and age with so much partisanship," said Florida State Political Science Professor Carol Weissert.
Weissert thinks she knows why. DeSantis has kept out of trouble, with no real scandals to speak of. He’s been active in creating and pushing policy. And, perhaps the biggest reason, spearheading goals most GOP governors wouldn’t.
Those issues include taking on environmental concerns, embracing medical marijuana, and working to increase teacher pay.
“I don’t want to say he’s not partisan. Clearly he is. But, I think he has surprised many Democrats and surprised many people," Weissert says.
Will his support wax or wane in 2020? Weissert expects President Trump will lean on DeSantis to win the state in the upcoming election.A connection that could hurt the governor who is, at the moment, more popular according to polls.
The governor has already outlined some big goals ahead of the 2020 session, starting next week. They include allowing college athletes payment for use of their likeness. Requiring E-Verify for employment. And more money for Florida Forever.
Calls to DeSantis’s office for comment on this report weren’t returned.