Swing voters in Florida have serious reservations about Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio: analysts
Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio. (Shutterstock and AFP)

According to a focus group finding conducted with Florida swing voters, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) may have problems attracting voters who aren't rock-sold Republicans if they decide to run for president in 2024 -- but first they have to get through their respective re-election bids in November.

In a report for the Bulwark, campaign analysts Rich Thau and Matt Steffee note that voters who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and then Joe Biden in 2020, are not sold on the two Republicans with national aspirations.

That, the two analysts, assert wouldn't stop them in a GOP primary but a general election victory might be more of a struggle.

"For months, the general consensus has been that in Florida’s two marquee midterm races—for governor and U.S. Senate—the Republican candidates are likely to prevail. But recent polling shows both races tighter than expected for Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio. On August 9 we conducted focus groups with a dozen Trump-to-Biden voters and these people explained why they were open to replacing both incumbents," the report states.

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According to some voters who were asked about the two GOP lawmakers, they have some work to do if they hope to make inroads with voters who vote the candidate and not the party.

In the case of DeSantis, some of the comments about him contained the words, "power-hungry,” “petty,” “an opportunist,” “egotistical,” “anti-abortion,” and a “bull in a china shop.”

According to B.J., 43, from Deland, DeSantis' war on Disney -- among other issues -- was a big turn-off.

“I’m a big Disney fan. That hit pretty close to home. There was just no point to it. It was just pure revenge politics. Also, I don’t agree with how he handled the Covid pandemic, like restricting local municipalities, not allowing them to enforce mask mandates and things like that. I think that was highly inappropriate," B.J. explained.

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“I disagree with DeSantis on quite a few things . . . It’s purely just his stance on things. [I’m troubled that he’s] anti-abortion, primarily, anti-transgender—more the social issues," 27-year-old Lance from Orlando added.

As for Rubio, words like “far-right,” “not genuine,” “puppet,” “absent,” “a coward,” and “a sellout,"' popped up when his name was mentioned.

“[Rubio is] standing in the way of progress at every turn. Even if he’s not directly proposing something, he’s denying it a chance to be heard—I’m talking about a bill or an idea just based on party-line vote alone as opposed to actually reading through it and thinking about it. I would say the constant negativity [from Rubio is what’s troubling],” explained Thomas, 27, of Coral Gables.

According to Thau and Steffee, Donald Trump's shadow over the party -- as well as his well-documented legal problems -- are not helping.

"There will be environmental factors at play in the midterms, starting with how voters feel about former President Trump and current President Biden. Some of which are predictable and others of which are not. For instance, few people expected the FBI to execute a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on August 8. And come November, this event could drive Republican turnout. But among our dozen persuadable Florida voters, 11 said they believed the search was justified. The same number said that if Trump took classified documents from the White House when he left office, that would constitute a serious crime," they wrote.

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