For years, The Walt Disney Company and the state of Florida have been working in relative harmony. Florida pays the state hundreds of millions in taxes and, at the same time, is located in the special district of Reedy Creek, so it is able to function as its own government. Disney wants to get things built or fix some roads? They permit themselves and the building or construction starts — no waiting for approval to go through the red tape. Unfortunately, that relationship is in complete turmoil and no one knows if it can be repaired or how long that will take.
Disney and Florida have been at odds since Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill — also called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — into law. Disney spoke out in support of its LGBTQ+ Cast Members and against the bill, and everything descended into chaos. DeSantis and his fellow state Republicans quickly passed a bill stripping Disney of its right to self-govern. There are also those who are looking into stripping Walt Disney World of the “no-fly-zone” status that it has over the Resort.
The fight between the Sunshine State and the House of Mouse has many wondering how this may affect DeSantis when voters go to the polls this November. DeSantis is currently running for reelection, and many see him as a potential front-runner for the 2024 Presidential election. One recent national poll found that voters are not inclined to support a candidate who punishes a company that speaks out against them. Now, another poll is showing that a slight majority of Florida voters may feel the same way.
NBC News and the Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies conducted a poll in the state to see whose side people were on — Disney’s or Governor DeSantis’. The margins were small, but the poll showed that in terms of popularity, Disney was winning with 33% of the vote. 28% of those polled preferred the Governor over Disney. An astounding 31% of those polled had no opinion of DeSantis, but only 7% of those same voters had no feelings about Disney.
Those polled also showed that DeSantis was as liked as he was disliked. 20% of those polled said that they had a very positive view of DeSantis, while 20% said that they had a very negative view. Disney was also polarizing, but with only 15% at each end of the spectrum.
So far, Disney has not been incredibly outspoken about its ongoing fight with Florida Republicans. Some think that that is because a lot of constitutional hurdles stand in the way of Reedy Creek actually being dissolved. There are also reports that DeSantis doesn’t really care if Reedy Creek is dissolved because he has already benefited from saying it will. Insiders are also saying that both sides are aware nothing will change and Disney’s people are working to help DeSantis “save face” when the bill doesn’t actually get enacted.