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DeSantis Edges Out Putnam, Corcoran in Republican Gubernatorial Matchup

January 2, 2018 - 11:15am
Ron DeSantis, Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran
Ron DeSantis, Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran

With a new year comes a new poll suggesting Florida Congressman (and President Donald Trump’s hand-pick) Ron DeSantis has a slight edge over his possible Republican gubernatorial opponents.

A new poll from Remington Research Group found DeSantis -- who has not officially declared his candidacy for governor, yet -- besting Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran by several points.

DeSantis routes both Putnam and Corcoran in a hypothetical matchup, taking 28 percent of the vote to Putnam’s 25 percent.

Corcoran received only three percent of the Republican primary vote in the hypothetical robopoll matchup, while a significantly larger portion of voters -- 44 percent -- said they are undecided as to who they’d vote for in the GOP primary.

When the options were narrowed to two -- DeSantis and Putnam -- DeSantis once again narrowly took the lead over the state Ag Commissioner, taking 30 percent to Putnam’s 29 percent. 

The only other major declared candidate besides Putnam, former Sen. Jack Latvala, who resigned last month as a result of a sexual misconduct scandal, was not included in the poll. 

DeSantis has represented Florida’s 6th District in Congress since 2013 but widely flew under the radar until recent months when political insiders began speculating he would make a bid for Florida governor.

DeSantis’ first big brush with gubernatorial publicity happened last month, when President Donald Trump tweeted his support for DeSantis, a potential boon to the Congressman’s gubernatorial aspirations.

DeSantis and Trump had met several weeks prior aboard Air Force Once before Trump made a public appearance at a Pensacola rally supporting failed U.S. Sen. and alleged child molester Roy Moore. 

On Dec. 22, Trump publicly endorsed DeSantis for the state’s highest office, his first foray into Florida politics for the 2018 election cycle. 

“Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida,” Trump wrote. “He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!”

DeSantis had told Fox News he was thankful for the president’s support.

“I can tell you that when that tweet went out, the amount of buzzing on my phone from calls and texts, I thought the phone was malfunctioning or there was something going on,” DeSantis said of the endorsement. “When he tweets and he has 100 million people that are seeing that, it’s a really really big deal, so I really appreciate the kind words from the president.”
Though Trump’s approval numbers are low nationwide, the poll suggests voters keep his approval in mind when considering voting for Republican candidates for other jobs. Sixty-nine percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for DeSantis based on Trump’s endorsement, while only 15 percent said they would be more likely to oppose him.
More than a third of poll respondents -- 36 percent -- self-identified as “Trump Republicans,” while another 31 percent said they were “Christian Conservatives.” Only 14 percent said they were traditional conservatives. The smallest number -- five percent -- identified as Tea Party Republicans. 
The poll, published by a group run by former Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz adviser and political consultant Jeff Roe, does not have any apparent or publicly known ties to any Florida gubernatorial candidates or campaigns. 
The poll of 1,423 likely 2018 Republican primary election was conducted Dec. 30-31 and has a margin of error is +/-2.6% with a 95% level of confidence.

To view the poll click here.


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen

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