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Florida Latinos favor DeSantis over Crist, support migrant flights to Martha's Vineyard

A clear majority of Hispanics supported his bold migrant relocation.

October 24, 2022 10:29pm

Updated: October 25, 2022 4:49pm

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is making headway with the state’s Hispanics, a demographic he lost by 10 points in his last election, according to a new Telemundo/LX News poll.

The poll released Thursday found Florida’s Latino voters favored DeSantis over his Democratic challenger, Rep. Charlie Crist, 51% to 44%.

56% of Hispanic respondents approved of DeSantis’ job performance as governor, compared to 41% who disapproved, according to the survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy.

Although the Florida’s Cuban population has always leaned Republican, other Latino groups have shifted right as Democrats became increasingly associated with Democratic Socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

But Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker says that DeSantis’ machismo also resonates with Latino voters.

“There are lots of Hispanic voters in this state who really like the governor’s style, this strongman who won’t back down. And Crist has no mojo,” Coker told NBC News.

Widely considered a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, DeSantis is also benefiting from a national trend of Hispanics ditching Democrats over their inaction on economic issues, rising crime and border security.

50% of Hispanics in the Florida poll supported DeSantis’ decision to fly 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy liberal enclave in Massachusetts, while 41% disapproved.

The bold migrant relocation saw the strongest support from Hispanic immigrants – poll respondents born outside the country favored the move by 52% to 41%, while those born in the U.S. were more evenly divided, with 49% in favor and 54% opposed.

DeSantis holds a 10-point edge over Crist, according to the RealClearPolitics’ polling average as of Monday evening.