This is not good news for the governor, as nearly half of those polled say it is either extremely, or very important, for the next president to be someone from outside the political establishment.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has labeled himself as a maverick who operates outside the political establishment, and claims credit as the man who turned the Sunshine State into the place where “woke goes to die.”
But the latest Monmouth Poll reveals that GOP Primary voters have quite a different picture of the Florida Republican.
In fact, 57% of those surveyed say they see DeSantis as part of the “political establishment,” the highest number of any candidate surveyed.
This is not good news for the governor, as nearly half of those polled say it is either extremely (26%) or very (21%) important for the next president to be someone from outside the political establishment.
The numbers are even higher among strong MAGA supporters (47% extremely and 24% very important). Additionally, a little over 57% of the 510 people polled view DeSantis as a Republican in Name Only (RINO).
The Distraction of Culture Wars
DeSantis defends himself from the charge by pointing out what he views as his entrenched anti-establishment positions. Take what he said in a Newsmax interview in March, for example:
“Everything we did in Florida [during the Covid-19 pandemic] I did against people like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the corporate media, a lot of the other entrenched bureaucracies, and we made sure that the state was able to thrive,” DeSantis said.
During the interview he also boasted about his controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bars classroom discussion of gender-related issues in grades pre-K to 12, and which he claims “[protects] the rights of parents to be able to send their kids to school without having things like gender ideology shoved down their throats.”
But critics of the governor say these unnecessary “culture wars” are nothing but smoke and mirrors used to distract attention from his push to pass corporate-friendly policies and maintaining low taxes on the wealthy, while reducing or eliminating the social programs that can improve the lives of average Floridians.
More than four years into the Republican’s governorship, “it is clear Floridians do not believe that Gov. DeSantis and legislative leaders focused on the priorities they believed would improve their lives,” says Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo.
A Lackluster Record
Some examples of DeSantis’ smoke and mirrors include:
- Florida’s reputation as a “low-tax” state ignores the fact that it is a high-tax state for low- and moderate-income residents. In the state’s tax structure, the poorest 20% of Florida families paid 12.7% of their income in taxes. In contrast, the families whose income was in the top 4% paid only 4.5%, and the top 1% paid only 2.3%, according to an Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) analysis.
- Despite inflation and the higher cost of living, the DeSantis administration has kept Florida’s unemployment benefits at a maximum of $275 per week.
- DeSantis and Republican leaders have refused to expand Medicaid, leaving almost a million Floridians without health coverage. The state also ranks below northern blue states in life expectancy as well as rates of cancer death, diabetes, and infant mortality.
- Florida is now America’s least affordable place to live. Years of “sweeping” money out of the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, which is meant to fund construction of low-cost housing, have resulted in 94,000 foregone affordable housing units, according to The Florida Housing Coalition.
“DeSantis is distracting us with these unnecessary culture wars, while not providing Floridians with what we care about and need to live successful lives: housing, fair wages and a good healthcare system,” state Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book told Floricua earlier this year.