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New FAU survey shows majority of Floridians disapprove of Matt Gaetz’s performance in congress


New FAU survey shows majority of Floridians disapprove of Matt Gaetz’s performance in congress

Nov 16, 2023 | 12:18 pm ET
By Mitch Perry
New FAU survey shows majority of Floridians disapprove of Matt Gaetz’s performance in congress
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is photographed inside the Rayburn House Office Building Feb. 27, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Panhandle GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz took a victory lap earlier this month at the Republican Party of Florida’s Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, where he was lauded for leading the effort to oust Kevin McCarthy from his speaker position in the U.S. House of Representatives. The move resulted in the election of hard-right conservative Mike Johnson of Louisiana to serve as the new House speaker.

“Fighting Washington has won us a new conservative speaker,” Gaetz said to approximately 1,500 cheering Republicans at the GOP event on Nov. 4. “Fighting Washington has shown the swamp creatures that they don’t win every time. Fighting Washington has restored some modicum of power back to ‘We the People.’ And I’m just getting started.”

While conservative Republicans cheered Gaetz on, his tactics alienated many other Republicans during that three-week period when the House of Representatives went leaderless. The publicity has led to speculation that Gaetz is a contender to become Florida’s next governor in 2026.

But most Floridians don’t seem all that impressed, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The survey from Florida Atlantic University of 946 adults showed that 57% of those polled disapprove of Gaetz’s performance as a member of Congress, with 46% saying that they strongly disapprove. Only 12% strongly approve and an additional 9% somewhat approve. Eight percent neither approved or disapproved, and 14% said they didn’t know.

The poll does show that 40% of those surveyed supported the removal of McCarthy as GOP speaker of the House, while 35% opposed the move, and 24% had no opinion.

The poll also shows that Donald Trump remains by far the most popular candidate in Florida running for the Republican nomination for president. Among only Republican voters, Trump leads with 61%, with Ron DeSantis a distant second at 20%. Nikki Haley is third with 9%.

In a one-on-one matchup with Joe Biden in Florida in 2024, Trump leads, 49%-39%. Between DeSantis and Biden, DeSantis leads 47%-39%.

Biden’s approval in Florida is only at 36%, with 62% saying they disapprove of his performance as president.

Regarding DeSantis, the electorate is split: 50% approve, 49% disapprove. DeSantis defeated Democrat Charlie Crist for reelection as governor a little over a year ago by 19 percentage points.

The survey asked Floridians where their sympathies lie between Israelis and the Palestinians as the war between Israel and Hamas continues. A majority — 59% — say they are with Israel while only 14% say their sympathies are with the Palestinians. Another 17% say “neither” while 9% didn’t know.

The survey was commissioned by Mainstreet Research and FAU and was conducted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 11. The margin for error is +/- 3.2%.