The work of the state’s two U.S. Senators received ratings lower than the governor

ST. LEO, FL – More than six in 10 Floridians like the way their new governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, is handling his job responsibilities, according to a recent survey of 500 state residents conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (

People from across the state registered their opinion between April 22 and April 29, when the survey was available online, and toward the end of the state’s legislative session. The political-party breakdown of the sample was 35 percent Republican, 39.4 percent Democrat, and 18.4 percent unaffiliated, with the balance a mix of people who either belong to other parties or said they were unsure. All respondents were specifically asked:

How would you rate the job Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is doing? Would you say you…

Rating Florida Gov. DeSantis  – April  Percent
Strongly approve 27.2
Somewhat approve 34.6
Combined approving responses 61.8
Somewhat disapprove 11.6
Strongly disapprove 9.6
Combined disapproving responses 21.2
Unsure 17.0

DeSantis received a similar level of support in February, when the Saint Leo University Polling Institute asked Floridians about their then brand-new governor, and a combined 63.8 percent somewhat or strongly approved of his job performance. The margin of error for the results is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

“Ron DeSantis is still in a honeymoon period and receiving support across the political spectrum,” commented Frank Orlando, director of the polling institute, and a political scientist who teaches at Saint Leo University. “He was able to navigate through his first legislative session and several contentious issues without losing much support.”

Not as many of the respondents were as impressed with their two U.S. Senators, Republicans Rick Scott (the state’s previous governor) and Marco Rubio.

How would you rate the job Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott is doing? Would you say you…

Rating U.S. Senator Scott – April Percent
Strongly approve 21.2
Somewhat approve 25.8
Combined approving responses 47.0
Somewhat disapprove 13.4
Strongly disapprove 24.2
Combined disapproving responses 37.6
Unsure 15.4

How would you rate the job Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is doing? Would you say you…

Rating U.S. Senator Rubio – April Percent
Strongly approve 16.4
Somewhat approve 29.8
Combined approving responses 46.2
Somewhat disapprove 15.8
Strongly disapprove 21.4
Combined disapproving responses 37.2
Unsure 16.6

Those combined favorable responses are slightly below where they were in February, about 3 percentage points off for Scott, and nearly 4 percentage points off for Rubio.

“Both Rubio and Scott are polling about where you think two conservative Republicans would be polling in a ‘purple’ state,” Orlando said. “Due to the nature of the position, it’s tougher for a politician to receive a broad set of support given the issues that must be confronted when in the Senate. In addition, everything is seen through the polarized lens of support of or opposition to President Trump.”

President Trump’s approval rating in Florida in the most recent poll was 40.4 percent, with 23 percent strongly approving of his job performance, and 17.4 percent somewhat approving. On the other side of the coin, 11.4 percent somewhat disapproved of the president’s work, and 43.6 percent strongly disapproved, for a combined disapproving rating of 55 percent. That nearly matches the national results on Trump, which were drawn from a base of 1,000 Americans surveyed at the same time by the polling institute. Across the United States, the president received approving marks from 41.8 percent of the sample, and disapproving reviews from 55.1 percent.

About the Poll
METHODOLOGY: This national survey was conducted from April 22 through April 29, 2019, among a base of 1,000 respondents nationally, using an online instrument. The national sample has an associated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

During the same time frame, the same online survey was administered to a sample of 500 residents of Florida. The Florida poll has a +/- 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level (on a composite basis).

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can also be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

Media contacts:
Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text).     

Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text).

More About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.