Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., made a big bet that opposing public health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus would be a political winner — but a new poll suggests he has massively miscalculated.
New polling from Quinnipiac shows that Florida residents are broadly in favor of taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the mask mandates that DeSantis has tried banning in public schools.
Overall, 60% of Florida voters support school mask mandates, while just 36% are opposed.
DeSantis' policy of cutting off salaries of school leaders who defy his mask mandate ban, meanwhile, is even more politically toxic for the governor, as just 25% say the policy is a good idea, while 69% say it's a bad idea.
In fact, even a majority of Republican voters, who are the most opposed to school mask mandates, do not support withholding payment from school administrators who enact mask mandates.
"As COVID-19 makes a frightening resurgence, it's Tallahassee versus the teaching institutions," said Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy. "Thumbs down from Floridians on DeSantis' ban on mask requirements in public schools. Thumbs down on DeSantis' call to freeze pay of administrators who mandate mask wearing. And he gets scant support from fellow Republicans on penalizing the school leaders who defy him."