Major national media outlets, on the left and right, are hyping Ron DeSantis as a frontrunner for President in 2024. Conservative media outlets are hoping to create momentum behind DeSantis. Liberal media outlets are trying to scare liberals into staying tuned in by telling them that DeSantis is inevitable.
But in reality DeSantis has about a 70% chance of losing reelection in Florida in 2022. His approval rating keeps jumping around depending on what month it is, but is quite mediocre overall. The more relevant number at this point is that DeSantis is polling about break-even for 2022. At this early stage, an incumbent like him should be way ahead in the polls, based on name recognition and the fact that none of his potential Democratic opponents have even entered the race yet.
In other words, DeSantis is currently on track to lose. Lots can change between now and then. But he would need to suddenly figure out how to become far more popular in Florida than he’s ever been at any point since he took office, which is unlikely. DeSantis faces the same problem that Trump faced heading into 2020: if your numbers suck and you can’t improve them, you’re going to lose. You can use voter suppression and similar tactics to rig a super close election. But as we keep seeing, you cannot rig an election that’s decided by more than a point or two.
DeSantis is not in nearly as deep of a hole as Trump was. But then Trump’s numbers always made clear that he never had more than a 10% chance of reelection. DeSantis has perhaps a 30% chance. You can quibble over the specific number, but the odds are clearly against DeSantis.
Pundits keep insisting that Ron DeSantis is somehow magically a lock for reelection in 2022, either because “voter suppression” (as if that were a new thing that didn’t also impact the last few elections), or because “Florida is a red state now” (this is proven false by the fact that DeSantis came within 0.4 points of losing last time), or because “Trump lives in Florida” (this is gibberish no matter how many times it gets repeated).
But the reality is that most pundits are insisting DeSantis is somehow a lock for 2022 because they want to be able to milk the “DeSantis 2024” narrative for ratings over the next year, and they can’t do that if they admit that the odds are against DeSantis of even making it to 2024.
The danger is that with the media pushing the notion that DeSantis is going to magically win in 2022 no matter what, too many liberal activists may decide not to bother properly getting behind the 2022 Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida. No major Democrats have declared yet, but the list of potential candidates is a strong one. Don’t let the media trick us into not bothering to win a very winnable 2022 contest in Florida, just because it wants to get ratings out of pretending DeSantis is going to become President in 2024.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report