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The Florida Roundup

How Has Gov. Ron DeSantis Done As The Pandemic Continues? Poll Shows 'Not Great'

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AP
Gov. Ron DeSantis is a big ally of President Trump. That support played a role during the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race.

It’s been a tough week for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Cases of coronavirus are soaring in the state. DeSantis maintains his administration is following the correct path in fighting the coronavirus.

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Protesters also heckled him this week over his management of the pandemic. It was the second time someone called out the governor during a news briefing.

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, DeSantis is seeing the lowest ratings of his time in office -- at 41 percent approval. It's enormous drop in public confidence since April.

On The Florida Roundup, hosts Tom Hudson and Melissa Ross talked about the governor's record so far with Politico reporter Matt Dixon.

Here's an excerpt of their conversation:

TOM HUDSON: How does the president pulling the plug on the RNC in Jacksonville reflect upon Gov. DeSantis?

MATT DIXON: It's sort of the the hits keep coming. His entire political brand and sort of DNA is tied to President Trump. You're supposed to be allies and work together. So I think without question this is a blow to the governor. He wasn't in the weeds handling it, but it's not good for him.

HUDSON: Not in the weeds. But do you think there was a heads up call from the Oval Office to the governor's mansion to say, Hey, the president's going to say this from the podium in the media center today?

DIXON: I have no reporting to indicate one way or the other personally. But just the way that the White House kind of moves pretty quickly. I think in a normal political ecosystem, you could very much expect that. You would give a governor who is an ally a heads-up about big news coming down the pipeline. I don't know if that's exactly how this White House operates, so I'm not sure if there was a heads-up or not. Ordinarily under a status quo situation, there would be. But we've long passed the status quo at this point.

MELISSA ROSS: A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Ron DeSantis has plummeted in terms of public confidence. Do you think these terrible numbers for the governor will force him to change strategy or change policy in any way in terms of how he is approaching [the] pandemic in the state?

DIXON: It will be interesting to see because so far the governor in the face of a lot of criticism, he's sort of been defiant, almost as far as changing tune, changing path, changing messaging. The next maybe a week or so, I would say, for your audience, watch to see if Gov. DeSantis looks different going forward. I wouldn't be doing my job as a Florida political reporter if I didn't mention, Quinnipiac has a bad track record. They're not necessarily the most accurate.

ROSS: Take those numbers with a grain of salt then, in other words. Still, a big dive in his numbers.

DIXON: I was just going to say. The trend line is very clear. This is impacting the governor's once stellar approval ratings. I don't know if it's going to signal a shift or not, but I think the next few days will be very telling. That's definitely something to keep an eye on.

The transcript of this interview has been edited lightly for brevity and clarity.

Alexander Gonzalez produces the afternoon newscasts airing during All Things Considered. He enjoys helping tell the South Florida story through audio and digital platforms. Alex is interested in a little of everything from business to culture to politics.
In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.
Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.