It has become Hard Political Reporter Law that Ron DeSantis’s responsibility for COVID policy outcomes is inversely correlated with the current case rate. So with case rates finally burning out (albeit with death rates still sky-high) it’s time to get on one’s knees again:
Florida’s coronavirus caseloads are dropping fast. And Gov. Ron DeSantis is again rising above other possible 2024 GOP presidential candidates in a new poll.
In a theoretical primary without Donald Trump on the ballot, DeSantis leads former Vice President Mike Pence by 22-15 percent, with all other possible contenders relegated to the single digits, the new national survey of Republicans by Echelon Insights, a GOP polling firm.
DeSantis’s 7 percentage-point lead over Pence has grown from 2 in Echelon’s last poll in August, which was conducted at the height of the coronavirus Delta wave swamping Florida, killing and sickening tens of thousands as the governor fought mask requirements for schools, a federal vaccination mandate and vaccine passports. In Echelon’s July poll, DeSantis led Pence by 15 points.
DeSantis’ fortunes have ebbed and flowed with the pandemic and the media attention that has come with it. In February, as vaccines were being distributed and after months of doom-and-gloom prophecies of catastrophe in Florida didn’t come to pass, DeSantis’s standing rose in the GOP as Republican voters compared him to the Democratic governors of New York and California and liked what they saw.
“By choosing a path that was in open defiance of lockdowns and mandates, it made him the anti-Cuomo, the anti-Newsom. So that’s sort of his foundation,” said Patrick Ruffini, Echelon Insights pollster.
Leaving aside the fact that leading the non-Trump alternatives in the 2024 primary field is about as impressive and meaningful as being the second-best team in the 2007 AFC East, has anything happened since the Politico/Axios axis determined in February that DeSantis had won the pandemic and his anti-anti-COVID response was fully vindicated? This is finally addressed in a single sentence in the 7th graf before the fawning resumes:
With Democrats and independents giving him highly negative marks, DeSantis’ approval ratings fell by double digits in Florida as coronavirus caseloads peaked in mid-August. But the cases have rapidly started to decrease along with hospitalizations. Deaths are still at an all-time high, and the Delta wave killed so many people that the state went from having the nation’s 27th-highest death rate this winter to having the 10th-highest death rate today, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Mediocre results are full vindication, dreadful results are merely a statistic! Now time for a story about how Newsom losing the recall vote in Lassen County shows that the Democratic Party could be in big trouble in California.