A majority of Florida voters disapprove of President Joe Biden’s job performance, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
Roughly 53 percent of respondents gave Biden negative marks, compared with 40 percent who approved of the president’s performance seven months into his tenure. Another 7 percent said they were unsure, with the poll carrying a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Unsurprisingly, 87 percent of self-identified Democrats said they were supportive of Biden, whereas 91 percent of Republicans expressed disapproval. However, Biden also fared poorly with independents, who landed 56-36 against the president.
Pollsters surveyed 889 voters between Aug. 17 and 21, a span in which the Biden administration was facing some of its fiercest criticism over its handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the Taliban takeover of the country. It’s the latest in a string of disappointing poll results for Biden recently, after he enjoyed fairly high job ratings in the first six months of his term.
Biden lost Florida to President Donald Trump by more than 3 percentage points in last November’s election, despite leading a number of pre-election polls. A deterioration of his poll numbers in the state is a troubling sign for Democrats headed into the 2022 midterms.
By comparison, public opinion on Gov. Ron DeSantis was split 47-45 in favor of the Florida Republican, who is up for reelection in 2022. Only 2 percent of Democrats rated DeSantis’ job performance favorably, while 87 percent of Republican respondents did along with 47 percent of independents, according to Quinnipiac’s poll.
DeSantis has become a lightning rod across the U.S. for his administration’s handling of Covid-19, which has simultaneously elevated his standing among conservatives while making him a high-profile villain on the left. A majority of the Florida voters surveyed, 51 percent, disapproved of DeSantis’ pandemic track record, compared with 46 percent who supported the governor’s approach.
While DeSantis’s handling of coronavirus is a drag on him now, he was in worse shape during last summer’s wave, according to a July 23, 2020, Quinnipiac poll that showed only 38 percent approved of the way he managed the pandemic at the time while 57 percent disapproved. That put his net approval at -11 percentage points last year, more than double what it is now — even though cases, hospitalizations and deaths are exceeding the last wave’s numbers in Florida overall.
A majority of respondents — including 53 percent of independents — similarly dislike DeSantis’ stance toward Florida public schools. In recent weeks he has lashed out at school districts that are trying to impose mask-wearing requirements, and he threatened harsh sanctions to districts that defy state laws against local Covid-19 rules.
Voters were also divided, 48-45 percent, on whether or not DeSantis should be reelected, with 6 percent who did not respond either way. However, nearly three-fifths of respondents said they did not want to see DeSantis run for president
Marc Caputo contributed to this report.