Cygnal Poll: Florida Voters Approve of DeSantis’ Handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccine Distribution

WASHINGTON D.C. – A survey of 800 likely general election voters in Florida, conducted by the national survey research and polling firm Cygnal, shows that Floridians overwhelmingly approve of Governor DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution and don’t trust the media to report it fairly. 

The statewide Cygnal survey, which was conducted April 8 -11, 2021, shows that the mainstream media has a negative approval rating (-14) while DeSantis is viewed favorably by most voters (+17 uninformed, +25 informed). 

DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic has higher approval among Floridians (60%) than does President Biden’s (58%) or former President Trump’s (49%). Additionally, 72% of Florida voters approve of the state’s vaccine distribution. Specifically, 74% of voters approve of DeSantis’ decision to vaccinate seniors first, 72% approve of making Florida one of the first states where anyone over 18 can get a vaccine, and 58% approve of keeping the economy open throughout the pandemic.

Most voters (63%) are aware that DeSantis is letting Publix distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and that Publix has donated to his PAC, but it does not have a negative impact on their view of DeSantis or Publix (DeSantis: 66% more favorable or no difference / Publix: 76% more favorable or no difference). 

Fewer voters are aware of the 60 Minutes segment on Publix distributing the vaccine in Florida (45%). 60 Minutes presented a highly-edited video of DeSantis that created the false narrative that Publix had been given special treatment. Once survey respondents watched a portion of the 60 Minutes segment along with DeSantis’ unaltered statement, almost twice as many voters trust DeSantis more than the media to tell the truth about Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution (52% DeSantis, 27% the media).

“I was shocked when I saw how brazen and dishonest the 60 Minutes segment was,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s CEO and founder. “DeSantis’ net favorability went up eight points after voters saw the segment and learned more about his actions throughout the pandemic. We didn’t test 60 Minutes’ image, but I imagine it would have plummeted. After all, 53% of respondents already viewed the mainstream media unfavorably.”

The information was gathered by Cygnal via an online survey platform. Likely general election voters in Florida were interviewed between April 8 and 11, 2021. This survey has a sample size of n800 and a MoE of ±3.46%. 

The toplines and presentation can be found below.