Here Are America’s Least (and Most) Popular Governors

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) remains the least popular governor in the latest edition of Morning Consult's Governor Approval Rankings, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), already viewed unfavorably, suffered another big drop in approval ratings from earlier in the year.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D), retained his spot as second-least popular governor, but his approval ratings didn't shift as significantly as Christie's.

Related: Christie’s Approval Rating Still Plummeting as ‘Bridgegate’ Trial Begins

Brownback’s unpopularity, a result of an austere budget and tax strategy that has hampered transportation and education in the state, has raised alarms among Republican officials who worry that other state GOP candidates could be in danger. Almost three-fourths of Kansas residents (71 percent) disapprove of Brownback's job performance, while only 23 percent approve.

Morning Consult surveyed 71,900 registered voters in all 50 states from early May 2016 through early September 2016. Survey respondents were asked whether they approved or disapproved of their governor's job performance. More on methodology here.

Malloy and Christie are close on Brownback’s heels in terms of unpopularity, with about seven out of 10 voters in Connecticut (70 percent) and New Jersey (68 percent) saying they disapprove of their respective governors.

Christie’s negatives rose by 8 percentage points since the beginning of the year, and he lost 6 points in approval ratings. In Morning Consult's most recent data set, less than one-third of New Jersey voters (29 percent) have a favorable view of Christie. That figure was 36 percent from January through early May.

Related: Hoosiers Sour on Mike Pence

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) also saw a significant drop in approval from earlier in the year. He moved from a 1-point net approval rating among state residents to a whopping 18-point deficit between voters who have a favorable view of him (35 percent) and those who have an unfavorable view (53 percent).

Bentley’s drop in favorability is almost certainly linked to his admission that he made inappropriate remarks to a former aide. Some state legislators are calling for his impeachment. Before that scandal, from January through early May, his ratings were about even at 46 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) doesn’t make the top 10 in terms of disapproval, but his disapproval rating among Tar Heel voters has grown 6 points, from 38 percent to 44 percent. His approval rating has dropped from 50 percent to 46 percent.

Related: As ‘Bathroom Bill’ Debate Rages, McCrory’s Approval Rating Slides

North Carolina is another red-leaning state where Democrats are hoping to make gains in November because of the state’s unpopular law regarding gender identity and bathrooms. The law has caused several national corporations to pull their business from the state, including PayPal, the NBA and the NCAA.

Among Democratic governors, Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe has lost a net 9 points among state voters. Although he is still viewed favorably by a majority of his constituents (53 percent), his approval rating has dropped from 58 percent while serving as the most prominent gubernatorial surrogate for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. His disapproval rating rose from 24 percent to 29 percent.

Related: Bevin Rebounds With Kentucky Voters, Louisiana’s Edwards Slips

In terms of popularity, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) all are viewed favorably by at least seven out of 10 state voters.

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StateGovernorApproveDisapproveDon’t Know / No OpinionMargin of Error
KansasSam Brownback23%71%6%4%
ConnecticutDan Malloy26%70%4%3%
New JerseyChris Christie29%68%3%2%
MichiganRick Snyder33%61%6%2%
MainePaul LePage39%58%3%5%
IllinoisBruce Rauner33%56%10%2%
Rhode IslandGina Raimondo38%55%7%6%
WisconsinScott Walker43%53%3%3%
OklahomaMary Fallin40%53%7%3%
AlabamaRobert Bentley35%53%12%3%
IndianaMike Pence45%45%11%2%
New MexicoSusana Martinez50%45%5%5%
North CarolinaPat McCrory46%44%10%2%
PennsylvaniaTom Wolf48%42%10%2%
FloridaRick Scott49%42%9%1%
AlaskaBill Walker50%41%9%8%
KentuckyMatt Bevin45%41%14%3%
IowaTerry Branstad50%41%9%3%
VermontPeter Shumlin53%40%7%8%
LouisianaJohn Bel Edwards46%39%14%3%
MissouriJay Nixon46%38%15%2%
IdahoButch Otter51%38%10%5%
New HampshireMaggie Hassan52%38%11%5%
ArizonaDoug Ducey49%35%16%2%
CaliforniaJerry Brown57%33%10%1%
West VirginiaEarl Ray Tomblin58%33%8%4%
MinnesotaMark Dayton59%33%8%3%
OhioJohn Kasich57%33%10%2%
South CarolinaNikki Haley60%32%8%3%
NebraskaPete Ricketts56%31%13%5%
New YorkAndrew Cuomo62%31%7%1%
ColoradoJohn Hickenlooper59%31%10%3%
WashingtonJay Inslee54%30%15%3%
MississippiPhil Byant58%30%12%4%
HawaiiDavid Ige53%30%17%7%
VirginiaTerry McAuliffe53%29%18%2%
GeorgiaNathan Deal57%28%15%2%
North DakotaJack Dalrymple53%28%19%7%
OregonKate Brown57%26%17%3%
TennesseeBill Haslam63%25%12%2%
UtahGary Herbert65%24%11%4%
DelawareJack Markell61%24%15%6%
ArkansasAsa Hutchinson60%24%16%4%
WyomingMatt Mead52%23%24%9%
TexasGreg Abbott63%23%14%1%
NevadaBrian Sandoval62%21%17%4%
MontanaSteve Bullock66%19%15%6%
MassachusettsCharlie Baker70%18%11%3%
MarylandLarry Hogan70%17%13%3%
South DakotaDennis Daugaard74%15%12%7%


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