Fanning Flames Of Racism Has Hurt DeSantis In Florida, Gillum Takes Big Lead In Polls
Image above: Mayor Andrew Gillum [left] and former Congressman Ron DeSantis [right]
A Quinnipiac University Poll released on Sunday shows Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum taking a commanding nine-point lead over former United States House of Representatives member Republican Ron DeSantis, whose campaign has faltered since making allusions to racist tropes the day the Florida gubernatorial general election campaign began.
Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes:
A poll of likely Florida voters released Wednesday found Democrat Andrew Gillum with a significant 54 percent to 45 percent lead over Republican Ron DeSantis. The Quinnipiac University Poll shows Gillum has passed the 50 percent threshold among likely Florida voters. Gillum has gained and DeSantis has slipped since a Sept. 4 survey by Quinnipiac, in which the Democrat had the support of 50 percent and the Republican had the support of 47 percent of likely voters.
The metrics playing the biggest role in Gillum’s lead is his 59-39 percent lead among women along with his 56-40 percent mark with independent voters. Of note, the Quinnipiac measures ‘likely’ and not ‘registered’ voters, meaning Gillum’s support could be greater — especially considering Puerto Rican voters may vote in larger numbers following President Trump’s remarks about how they handled the fallout of Hurricane Maria.
In a move showing DeSantis is taking the poll numbers seriously, he hired veteran Republican strategist Susie Wiles as the new chairperson of his campaign. Wiles was an adviser to Rick Scott’s successful races for governor.
Over the past week, DeSantis has spent time attacking the coverage of Gillum, accusing outlets of giving his opponent favorable press. However, Jeffrey Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat outlined that such claims are largely false. In fact, national outlets have shown interest in an FBI investigation surrounding his former campaign treasurer. Schweers writes:
Even though he has not been named in any subpoenas or accused of any wrongdoing, Gillum has been tied to the FBI investigation because of his relationship to his former campaign treasurer Adam Corey. Corey is also a former lobbyist and restaurateur whose name and corporations have popped up on three subpoenas.
Peter Brown; the assistant director of Quinnipiac stated the following concerning poll, “When asked whether they view each of the candidates favorably or unfavorably, Gillum’s rating is 24 percentage points positive, and DeSantis’ score is 5 points negative. At this point, Gillum’s biggest asset is just that voters like him better.”
DeSantis has tied himself to President Trump’s agenda. His campaign released a zealot like ad praising the President during the primary, which has drawn a lot of criticism and may hurt him with Florida independents, “A Florida Atlantic University poll released Wednesday [September 19th] found 39 percent of the state’s voters approve and 47 percent disapprove of Trump’s performance, a net negative of 8 percentage points,” the Sun Sentinel reports.
While not the top issue on the mind of Florida voters, DeSantis going viral for saying, “This girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is,” along with his “Monkey this up” comment in reference to Gillum, likely hurt his favorability numbers among most voters.
At this point, the candidates have a single debate set for October 24th, with likely more to be announced in the upcoming weeks. If Gillum’s lead continues to grow the late October date may not have any effect on the outcome of the race.