Even Floridians don’t like Matt Gaetz.
A mere 21 percent of Floridians responded that they approve of the man they elected to congress while another 57 percent said they flat out disapprove of the job Gaetz has done since being elected, according to a Florida Atlantic University Mainstreet PolCom Lab survey. That’s a far cry from Gaetz’s results in the 2022 election, when he swept Florida’s 1st Congressional District by a margin of 35 percentage points.
The poll comes on the heels of several weeks of high drama sparked and stoked by the far-right congressman, in which he led a charge to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for daring to coordinate a bipartisan effort to avert a government shutdown. Since then, Gaetz has worked to aggressively divide and strong-arm the caucus alongside a minority cohort of conservative colleagues.
All that time in the limelight drew more attention to some of Gaetz’s other scandals, including the House Ethics Committee’s investigation into allegations of sexual assault and misuse of funds by the congressman.
In February, the Justice Department concluded its own investigation into Gaetz, opting against criminal charges relating to allegations of sex trafficking and sex with a minor, determining that they couldn’t bring a strong enough case to court.
“I am the most investigated man in the United States Congress,” Gaetz said during an October ethics inquiry
Despite all the bad press, Gaetz has trudged ahead, with rumors swirling that the controversial politician may run to unseat Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during the 2026 gubernatorial election. Gaetz has since snubbed the report as “overblown clickbait,” clarifying that his singular focus is getting Donald Trump elected to a second term in the White House.
Failing the longshot bid, Gaetz may be pushed out of politics altogether if he falls short on gathering the numbers to keep his current seat.
“The poll was not great for the congressman, but it’s early and these assessments can change,” Kevin Wagner, a pollster and political science professor at FAU, told Newsweek. “Even people that disapprove can still vote for him if they like the other choices less.”