New UNF poll shows Fried has lead over Crist in Democratic governor’s primary; DeSantis edging Trump

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — According to a new voting poll conducted by The Public Opinion Research Lab (PORTL) at the University of North Florida, gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried is ahead of Charlie Crist in the Democratic primary race. That same poll also shows Fried is seven points behind republican incumbent Ron DeSantis in a head-to-head race.


The poll asked registered Democrats, who are likely to vote in the Aug. 23 primary election, who their vote choices were for the Democratic nominees for Florida Governor and U.S. Senate.

In the Governor’s race, voters polled said they would vote for:

- 47% for Nikki Fried

- 43% for Charlie Crist

- 4% for Cadance Daniel

- 1% for Robert Willis

- 6% didn’t know who they would vote for or refused to answer

- 10% didn’t know or refused to answer

“Fried seems to have reversed the eight-point lead that Crist has when we asked registered Democrats about vote choice in February,” commented Dr. Michael Binder, PORTL faculty director and UNF professor of political science. “It’s possible that the overturning of Roe v. Wade changed the make-up of this race, and has particularly energized women that are almost 20 points more likely to vote for her.”

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For the U.S. Senate seat, the results were:

- 80% for Val Demings

- 4% for William Sanchez

- 4% for Brian Rush

- 2% for Ricardo de la Fuente

The poll also asked voters who they would vote for if the general midterm election were held today, and the candidates were Ron DeSantis and Nikki Fried. Voters responded:

- 50% for DeSantis

- 43% for Fried

- 5% would vote for someone else

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Val Demings came out on top in the head-to head against Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate with:

- 48% for Demings

- 44% for Rubio

- 7% say they would vote for someone else

Registered Republicans were also asked who they would vote for in a hypothetical presidential primary in 2024 between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. Of those polled:

- 47% for DeSantis

- 45% for Trump

- 7% said they would vote for someone else

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“DeSantis and Trump are the two most popular Republican names being discussed for 2024 and DeSantis is edging him out in their home state,” said Binder. “People are split on whether Trump and DeSantis are friends or merely acquaintances, I guess we’ll really find out after the midterms and the 2024 race starts to heat up.”

Approved for the job

Governor Ron DeSantis had an approval rating of 50%, down from 58% in February of this year. Forty-five percent said they approve strongly of the job DeSantis is doing, while only 5% said they approve somewhat. Conversely, 41% said they strongly disapprove, with only 7% disapproving somewhat.

Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried had an approval rating of 40%, with 27% disapproving and 31% who don’t know.

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“The polarization of DeSantis support is striking, if not altogether surprising with political agenda and media presence this past year,” Binder commented. “More people seem to have an opinion about Fried since she started campaigning for Governor—her ‘don’t know’ percentage has decreased dramatically from 49% in February.”


Respondents were asked if they would support a law making abortion illegal in all cases in the State of Florida, to which the majority (59%) said they would be strongly opposed, and 12% somewhat opposed. Twenty-seven percent said they would support such a law: 13% strongly and 14% somewhat.

Biggest problems Floridians face

Forty-three percent of respondents said the cost of living was the most pressing issue Floridians face. Tied in a distant second place are education and abortion/reproductive rights, each with 8%.

“With record inflation this past year, it’s no wonder that Florida voters are concerned about the cost of living,” commented Binder. “Even with signs that inflation may begin to ease, cost of living in Florida does not appear to be improving anytime soon.”

Who won the 2020 election?

Finally, respondents were asked who they think actually won the 2020 election—Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Overall, 60% said Biden either definitely or probably won the election, while 38% said Trump definitely or probably won.