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UNF Poll Gives DeSantis a Comfortable Lead Over Crist; Rubio Ahead of Demings

Florida - Wednesday October 26, 2022: A poll released Wednesday by The University of North Florida gives incumbent GOP Governor Ron DeSantis a comfortable 14 point lead over his democratic rival Charlie Crist.

UNF's Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) polled 622 registered likely voters and found 54% favored DeSantis, 40% said they'd vote for former governor, Republican-turned-Democrat, Charlie Crist. The poll was conducted from October 17 through October 24, prior to the Monday evening debate between the two gubernatorial candidates. Less than one percent said they would vote for someone else, and 4% did not know or refused to answer.

“Given DeSantis’s historic fundraising and popularity among Republicans, his lead in this race is not surprising,” commented Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and UNF professor of political science. “The surprise in these numbers is that a statewide race in Florida is closer to a blowout than a recount.”

The UNF poll gives the Governor a 3-point greater margin than the 11-point lead DeSantis was reported to have in a poll released last Friday by Florida Atlantic University's Business and Economics Polling Initiative. The FAU survey found 51% for DeSantis with 40% favoring Crist.

U.S. Senate: Rubio vs. Demings

When asked about the election for U.S. Senator for the State of Florida, 54% of those responding to the UNF survey said they plan on voting for Republican incumbent Marco Rubio, and 11% margin over Democrat Val Demings who was favored by 43% of those asked. 3% said they hadn't decided or they refused to answer.

“Demings has raised a lot of money and has been on the attack for months, but Rubio is up double digits,” noted Binder. “Florida has become a red state, it will likely take an exceptionally weak Republican candidate for Democrats to win statewide – and Rubio is not a weak candidate.”

Florida Attorney General

Respondents were also asked which candidate they support for Florida Attorney General. Republican candidate Ashley Moody came in the lead with 50%, with Democrat Aramis Ayala trailing by 14 points with 36% of the vote. Fourteen percent of respondents said they don’t know or refused to answer.

When asked about Agricultural Commissioner, 44% said they would vote for Republican Wilton Simpson and 39% indicated a vote for Naiomi Esther Blemur, the Democrat. Seventeen percent said they don’t know or refused.

“The Attorney General and Agricultural Commissioner races are a little less exciting for most folks, and these tend to go down party lines,” said Binder. “As is the case with a lot of these races, the outcome will largely come down to who turns out the most voters – Republicans or Democrats – and it looks like Republicans are going to win that fight.”

Voter Fraud

In addition to vote choice, respondents were asked about their perceptions surrounding the prevalence of voter fraud. When asked how often there is an election with enough fraudulent voting to affect the outcome, 34% said less than 1% of races, with 54% saying it happens more frequently. Twelve percent said that substantial voter fraud occurs in over half of all races.

In a related question, respondents were asked who they think won the 2020 election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, based on receiving the most votes cast by eligible voters in enough states to win. Fifty percent of respondents said Joe Biden definitely won the election, and 19% said Trump definitely won.

“Most of the research in this area suggests impactful voter fraud is rare—well under 1% of elections,” Binder stated, “but most people seem to think it’s much more prevalent.” He went on, “this general distrust in elections is pretty clear when you look at perceptions of the 2020 election, with only half of respondents convinced Biden really won.”