Former President Donald Trump took much of the blame for poor Republican performance in the Midterms. But Gov. Ron DeSantis received a lot of credit for solid GOP performance in Florida.
That’s the finding of a study by Impact Social, a social media consulting firm studying online communication. The organization looked at chatter from Nov. 9-22 to gauge online response to the election results, and checked out what swing voters thought of the two political leaders as they weigh a run for the White House in 2024.
Of course, DeSantis on Nov. 8 won re-election by a landslide, defeating Democrat Charlie Crist by more than 1.5 million votes. Moreover, in congressional races under a map designed by the Governor’s staff and signed by him, voters elected four more Republicans to the U.S. House than in the last election.
Regardless, the Impact Social study suggests the brunt of national underperformance landed on Trump’s shoulders.
“Team Mar-a-Lago could be forgiven for thinking that this showed momentum heading in the right direction which would improve further with a Trump inspired ‘red wave’ in the midterms as foretold by the pollsters,” the analysis states.
“However, as Impact Social predicted in a previous (Joe) Biden report the red wave did not occur. Or as we stated at the time, ‘Faced with the choice between a Trumpian or Democratic candidate, many swing voters will conclude that a vote left is better than a Trump right.’ And so it proved.”
The political group Ready for Ron, which seeks to draft DeSantis into the presidential contest, is already touting the study as a sign momentum is behind the Governor.
The firm has tracked net sentiment about DeSantis and Trump since June, and consistently found the Governor in better shape with swing voters. That was true at moments when DeSantis was rated underwater, which was true as recently as mid-October when he scored a -16 on the firm’s net sentiment ratings but Trump scored a -45.
But the two politicians have never been further apart, according to the data in the study, as they are post-election. DeSantis has climbed on the index to a +16 rating, but Trump sits at a -37.
The number is found by comparing positive discussion online about candidates and comparing it to negative comments. After the Midterms, 36% of online communication about DeSantis was favorable and 20% was negative, producing the +16 score. Meanwhile, 47% of all discussion about Trump was decidedly negative, while just 10% was positive, producing a -37 rating.
There is further information, some of which may be welcomed by Trump. For example, of negative commentary on the ex-President, only 40% of it was distinctly anti-Trump, while half the negative comments about the Governor were deemed anti-DeSantis.
About a third of the pro-DeSantis comments included individuals specifically saying DeSantis would be a better nominee than Trump. Only about 3% of pro-Trump comments specifically identified him as a better choice than DeSantis.
But the analysis mostly saw positive trends in chatter on the Governor, while commenters seem to be souring on Trump.
“It is notable that aside from a downward bump caused by the migrant/Martha’s Vineyard debacle, DeSantis’ star has been steadily rising for the last 6 months,” the study states. “The man is on a roll.”
This article originally appeared in Florida Politics.