WASHINGTON (Reuters] - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has outlined a policy agenda that includes restrictions on abortion and more loosening of gun laws. These stances may be beneficial in his run for the Republican nomination in 2024, but could harm his chances of being elected, according Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The March 14-20 survey that surveyed national opinion about DeSantis' policies highlighted the opportunities and challenges that await him if he is to challenge Donald Trump for the nomination.
According to the survey of 4,410 adults, only a third of Americans would like a presidential candidate who supports strict restrictions on abortion rights. Most voters also oppose allowing concealed firearms to be carried without a permit.
If DeSantis runs, his positions on guns and abortion will likely win him support from Republican primary voters in 2024's early months, but could hurt him with more moderate and independent voters, according to data.
William Frey, a Brookings Institution expert on elections and polling, said that if a candidate ran on those issues, Democrats will have an edge.
Respondents, including 46% of Republicans (and 68% of Independents), said that they are less likely to vote in 2024 for a candidate who supports strict restrictions on abortion access or banning it.
Sixty-three per cent, including 53% of Republicans, said they oppose laws that allow concealed guns to be carried without licensing requirements.
Last year, DeSantis signed a Florida law that prohibited abortions after 15 weeks. He stated that the measure would protect "the right of unborn children."
DeSantis was asked in February whether he would sign such legislation. He urged legislators to pass legislation that he could sign.
He also supports a bill in Florida that allows concealed weapons to be carried without a permit. In March, he stated that this was in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.
The political team of DeSantis did not respond when we asked them.
He claimed that his government approach is focused on fulfilling campaign promises, and he won reelection by 19 percentage points. During a March 10 trip to Iowa, which plays a major role in the selection of presidential candidates, he stated that he was not listening to polls.
After a U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated the abortion right, Republicans saw a lower turnout than expected in November's congressional election.
The credibility interval for the online Reuters/Ipsos survey was between two and four percentage points.
Graphic: U.S. views regarding abortion and guns - Reuters/Ipsos Poll - URL.png
Some of DeSantis’s other positions may help him connect with voters in the United States. This country is known for its conservatism and stands out among advanced economies.
A Florida medical board banned last year, at his request, any new procedures or medications for children undergoing gender transition.
According to Reuters/Ipsos, 61% of national respondents, 66% of independents included, preferred a candidate who opposed medical treatment for minors based on gender identity.
This could give DeSantis an advantage when it comes to the Republican nomination race, according to Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, who worked on Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Conant stated that "Clearly, social issues are where energy is at the Republican base."
Since becoming governor in 2019, DeSantis has been the most prominent figure in his party's "culture battles" in the country. He was the face of national resistance to vaccine mandates and masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
After a DeSantis-backed Florida measure that restricted classroom instruction on gender and sexual orientation, Walt Disney's CEO criticised him, he has also gotten a bad reputation for being conservative. It could be extended to all Florida public school students.
According to the poll, Americans are divided over whether schools should teach students about gender identity and sexual orientation. 72% of Democrats supported this idea and 76% opposed it.
Respondents who identified as politically independent were more divided than those who identified as political independent, with 56% saying that they would prefer a candidate who would not include teachers in the discussion.
Graphic: U.S. views on transgender issues & race - http://URL_.png
According to Reuters/Ipsos, more women than men opposed strict abortion restrictions and permissive concealed guns.
Seventy-four per cent of women aged 18 to 39 were disillusioned by the presidential candidates' support for severe abortion restrictions. 64% of women 40 years and older opposed removing licensing requirements on concealed weapons.
Mike Morey, a Democratic strategist said that a focus on cultural matters will work against the nominee for the general election.