To the extent that Democrats haven’t fully conceded Florida going into the November election, the latest polling out of the state may represent a breaking point.
Suffolk University/USA Today released what I believe is the first credible, non-partisan survey of the races going on there, and the results are fire and brimstone for the Democrats involved. Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a commanding lead over both of his likely opponents, including Nikki Fried, who is fresh off trying to accuse the governor of not condemning white supremacy.
On the Senate front, Sen. Marco Rubio is trouncing Rep. Val Demmings, who was framed as a strong candidate when she announced.
For all the consternation from the national press over DeSantis’ tenure, he continues to draw broad support in a state that is not known for giving it. Recall that in 2018, DeSantis won his race over Andrew Gillum by less than half a percentage point. Now, he’s consistently beating Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried in hypothetical matchups by what are blowout numbers in a political context.
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Rubio’s performance is perhaps most impressive, though. Demmings has always been painted as a “serious” Democrat with a mind towards fairness. Yet, she’s not even competitive at this point. That begs the question of why she’s even running? She was set up in the House of Representatives for a long career, including probably a leadership position. But if she loses to Rubio, and it’s almost certain she does, that all goes away. Perhaps overconfidence got the best of her and those encouraging her to run?
As to Joe Biden, his approval in the Sunshine State sits at just 39%. If that number holds — and there’s no reason to believe it will rise substantially over the next nine months — he will drag a lot of Democrats down just as Barack Obama did in 2010.
Yet, the oddest result from this poll involves a bit of a curveball. In a hypothetical primary matchup between Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton for the 2024 Democrat presidential nomination, Clinton actually bests the incumbent president. That is a testament to how much derision there is around Biden’s presidency, even among Democrats. Of course, Clinton would never try to primary Biden. The only way she runs is if Biden steps aside. Still, it’s interesting to note.
In the end, Democrats are continuing to flounder with the clock ticking. These numbers are far worse than anyone expected them to be just six months ago. DeSantis was always a favorite, but he’s not supposed to be this big of a favorite, and Demmings flopping so far is a legitimate surprise. If you are of the left, you might want to plan to not watch the coverage come election night. November awaits.