How Americans compare Florida, California, and their governors

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
November 28, 2023, 1:55 PM GMT+0

A recent YouGov poll asked Americans their views on California and Florida — including each state's government — ahead of the Fox News debate between the state's current governors on November 30. Below is a summary of the November 20 - 27 poll's results.

Comparing California and Florida

  • Most Americans think that people living in California and Florida are very or somewhat different from one another
  • According to our survey, Americans are more likely to say that California rather than Florida...
    • Is more environmentally conscious
    • Has more national political power
    • Is more diverse
    • Has better public universities
    • Has more cultural attractions
  • However, more say that Florida rather than California...
    • Has a lower cost of living
    • Has better tax policies
    • Has less crime
    • Has better housing policies
    • Is more prepared for a natural disaster

  • While Democrats and Republicans are about as likely to have ever lived in California as in Florida, most Democrats say they'd prefer to live in California rather than Florida if given the choice between the two, while most Republicans would prefer living in Florida

  • Republicans are far more likely to describe California's government as "very liberal" (62% do) than Democrats are to describe Florida's government as "very conservative" (38%)

The Newsom vs. DeSantis debate

  • 35% of Americans — including roughly equal shares of Democrats and Republicans — say they will definitely or probably watch the Fox News debate between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom
  • More Americans are familiar with DeSantis (82%) than are familiar with Newsom (65%)
  • Among Americans overall, DeSantis also has a higher net approval rating than Newsom (-6 vs. -13). Net approval is the percentage point difference between the share who strongly or somewhat approve and the share who strongly or somewhat disapprove
  • Republicans hold largely negative views of Newsom (-51 net approval) and Democrats have similarly negative views of DeSantis (-50)
  • But while Republicans have strongly positive opinions on DeSantis (+53), Democrats' enthusiasm for Newsom is much more muted (+28)
  • Here is how Newsom and DeSantis fare among registered voters nationally in hypothetical 2024 presidential head-to-heads against current frontrunners Joe Biden and Donald Trump (asked of respondents in a randomized order):
    • Democrats +1 in a matchup between Biden (44%) and Trump (43%)
    • Democrats +1 in a matchup between Biden (43%) and DeSantis (42%)
    • Republicans +4 in a matchup between Newsom (40%) and Trump (44%)
    • Republicans +1 in a matchup between Newsom (38%) and DeSantis (39%)

— Carl Bialik and Allen Houston contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on November 20 - 27, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Getty

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