Gov. Ron DeSantis leads his potential Democratic challengers in a new survey that puts his overall job approval rating at 53%, and 50% with Hispanics, a strong showing for a Florida Republican with a key demographic.

Among the three Democrats vying to take on DeSantis, Congressman Charlie Crist has the most support in the Democratic primary, according the Mason-Dixon poll, which found that 44% of Florida Democrats back Crist while 27% back Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and 26% support state Sen. Annette Taddeo. A significant number of Democrats – 26% – are undecided.

The survey indicates that each of the Democrats currently running for governor would struggle against DeSantis.

DeSantis leads Crist in a head-to-head match up with 51% support, compared to 43% for the congressman and former Republican governor. Fried trails DeSantis by 11 percentage points, while Taddeo trails by 16 points.

Mason-Dixon’s polling memo says DeSantis has a “decent cushion” over his Democratic rivals right now.

DeSantis’ job performance is viewed favorably by 60% of male voters, 61% of white voters and 56% of voters age 65 and older. Half of Hispanic voters also approve of his job performance, which is noteworthy in a state with a large Hispanic population that can be pivotal in deciding elections.

Former President Donald Trump’s strong performance with Hispanic voters – particularly in Miami-Dade County – in 2020 helped boost his margin of victory in Florida. DeSantis will be hard to beat if he can replicate Trump’s performance with Hispanics.

Trump won just 35% of Florida’s Hispanic vote in 2016 but increased that to 46% in 2020, according to exit surveys. That helped Trump triple his margin of victory in Florida between 2016 and 2020.

The survey of 625 registered voters was conducted between Feb. 7 and Feb. 10. It has a margin of error of four percentage points. The margin of error for the Democratic primary question is 5 percentage points.

Follow Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson on Twitter at @zacjanderson. He can be reached at [email protected]

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