A new joint poll by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and the firm Harris Poll shows that 60 percent of respondents believe America is going off the rails.
That includes 88 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents, and even 40 percent of Democrats.
The results are even worse when pollsters asked about the economy. Overall, 64 percent said the nation is on the “wrong” track economically, and that 84 percent believe America is in a recession or will be in one within a year.
But the poll also indicates more people are warming up to Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as the one to get the national locomotive back on track.
There are a couple of caveats.
First, that is if former President Donald Trump somehow gets out of the race. The Harvard-Harris poll is one of the few in recent weeks to show Trump with a big lead (plus-18) over DeSantis among Republican voters.
The poll also gives Trump little incentive to exit, since it shows he would beat either President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris in a head-to-head match-up in 2024.
Another caveat involves Biden. The survey showed DeSantis tied with the incumbent at 43 percent.
Yet the Harvard-Harris poll also indicated for the first time that DeSantis would defeat the vice president, if they squared off in two years.
DeSantis was the choice of 42 percent of respondents, compared to 39 percent who went with Harris.
As the website Florida Politics reported, that is the first time the Florida governor has led Harris in this particular survey since January, when he eked out a one-point advantage. For most of 2022, Harris has maintained an edge of two or three points over DeSantis.
But the Harvard-Harris poll revealed that DeSantis is clearly the most popular choice among major political figures now.
Among a list of 20 prominent politicians — including Russian President Vladimir Putin for some reason — DeSantis tied with Trump for the lead among those who viewed them “very” favorably. Each received 25 percent support on that question.
Yet DeSantis had a “very unfavorable” score of just 19 percent, one of the lowest in the survey and just half of Trump’s ratio.
For comparison, Harris sported a “very unfavorable” rating of 37 percent.
Additionally, DeSantis posted the highest favorable-unfavorable score on the list, running at plus-8 favorable.
The only other figures on the list on the positive side were Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, at plus-4, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist from Vermont, who was plus-2.