While he hasn’t been running for governor for long, Ron DeSantis is closing on Adam Putnam in the Republican primary to replace term limited Rick Scott, a new poll shows.
Last month, after President Donald Trump encouraged DeSantis to run for governor, the Northeast Florida Republican congressman jumped in the race. Mason Dixon released a new poll on Tuesday morning showing DeSantis is right behind Putnam in the Republican primary. Putnam takes 27 percent while DeSantis is on his heels with 23 percent. While state House Speaker Richard Corcoran hasn’t entered the gubernatorial primary, he was included in the poll and pulls 7 percent. A plurality of Republicans--43 percent--remain undecided on who they plan to back in the August primary.
Putnam, who served in Congress and won two statewide elections to serve as Florida agriculture commissioner, leads among all age groups and with both men and women. The Tampa Bay area and Southwest Florida break Putnam’s way as he takes 35 percent of Republicans there followed by DeSantis with 17 percent and Corcoran with 9 percent. Putnam also leads in Central Florida with 29 percent while DeSantis takes 22 percent there and Corcoran garners 5 percent in that area.
The poll shows DeSantis doing well in his North Florida base with 28 percent followed by Putnam with 17 percent and Corcoran with 5 percent. Things are tighter in Southeast Florida where DeSantis edges Putnam 26 percent to 25 percent while 6 percent are for Corcoran.
Among Florida Republicans, Putnam is the best known of the three contenders with 32 percent viewing him favorably, 2 percent seeing him in an unfavorable light, 29 percent neutral about him and 37 percent are unfamiliar with him. DeSantis is seen as favorable by 23 percent of Florida Republicans while 3 percent see him unfavorably, 30 percent are neutral on him and 44 percent are unfamiliar with him. Corcoran is easily the most unknown candidate with 70 percent of those surveyed unfamiliar with him while 7 percent see him favorably, 2 percent view him as unfavorable and 21 percent are neutral about him.
The poll of 500 registered Florida Republicans was taken from Jan. 29-Feb. 1 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.