Governors DeSantis vs. Newsom – A Complete Policy Record Comparison
Where do the Governors Compare and Contrast on Policy and Stack up Against their State’s Legislature?

WASHINGTON, DC – A just released policy record comparison between Governors DeSantis and Newsom identifies the largest policy divides between them and their state legislatures. The data is based on the Institute for Legislative Analysis California and Florida legislative reports, which are the most comprehensive policy analyses ever conducted on both state legislatures, made up of a combined 17,000 votes and actions taken by each state’s lawmakers and the Governors.  

The report measured both DeSantis’ and Newsom’s alignment with the limited government principles of the U.S. Constitution across key policy fields on a 0 to 100 scale, with a “100%” rating representing a bill signage and veto history completely aligned with limited government. The report also compared each Governor to their legislature, providing greater insight on whether they over or under-perform based on the political makeup of their state.

The analysis found Governor Ron DeSantis’ record aligned with limited government principles 76.25% of the time, above the Florida legislature’s 62.61% average but slightly below the 77.29% Republican average. Governor Gavin Newsom’s record aligned with limited government principles 39.00% above the California legislature’s 23.96% average and significantly above the 5.08% Democrat average.  

Governor DeSantis’ top performance was on local and national security (100% vs. 60% legislature), where he stood up against multiple soft on crime policies advanced by the legislature. He also earned perfect ratings on protecting Individual Liberties and Education. However, DeSantis lagged the legislature on Tax and Fiscal issues (33% vs. 42% legislature) and on Regulations (50% vs. 51% legislature).

Interestingly, Governor Newsom’s worst performance was within DeSantis’ top category of Individual Liberties (13% vs. 33% legislature) while also struggling on Energy and Environment (20% vs. 30% legislature). Surprisingly, Newsom outperformed not only the legislature, but even California Republicans on Tax and Fiscal issues (60% vs. 14% legislature vs. 58% Republican) and was also relatively strong on Regulations (57% vs. 18% legislature).

“While debates are certainly entertaining events to witness, oftentimes the fireworks lead to misrepresentation on where officials really stand on the issues,” said ILA CEO Ryan McGowan. “Our mission here at the Institute for Legislative Analysis is to help the everyday person – Democrat and Republican – cut through the political rhetoric to see the real track record of their lawmakers.”

The Florida and California reports each contain over 100 detailed policy analyses on the bills signed and vetoed by each Governor. Also highlighted are the multiple bills in which both Governors took actions which went against traditional party dogma, such as DeSantis’s support for stricter price controls on lending, and Newsom’s opposition to greater regulations on healthcare. On ILA’s website can be found additional head-to-head policy comparisons between Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump and Nikki Haley.

The ILA serves as the new data and policy hub for national conservative and liberty-minded organizations. Prior to the launch of the ILA, the team previously served together for nearly a decade at CPAC and the American Conservative Union where they constructed the nation’s first 50 state legislative scorecard.


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