America’s Most and Least Popular Governors — July 2017
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Familiar faces remain affixed the top and bottom of the new Morning Consult Governor Approval Rankings, based on interviews with more than 195,000 registered voters across the U.S. from April 1 through July 10 (Methodology).
Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) anchor the list of 50 governors, while their GOP colleagues in two blue states, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland, lead the way with supermajority support from their constituents.
Roughly 7 in 10 (69 percent) of New Jerseyans disapprove of Christie, who most recently raised the ire of Garden Staters by visiting a beach that was closed to the public as a result of an ongoing state government shutdown. Brownback, meanwhile, in June suffered a stunning rebuke from state legislators in his own party, who overrode his veto of a measure to increase taxes, rolling back his signature 2012 cuts he had claimed would kickstart the economy. Two-thirds of Kansans disapprove of Brownback.
Baker and Hogan, two canny dealmakers who have largely eschewed the national political scene and have been unsupportive of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace significant parts of Obamacare, continue to enjoy the support of a large share of voters in traditionally Democratic states ahead of their 2018 re-election bids. Seventy-one percent of Massachusetts voters said they approve of Baker while 68 percent of Marylanders back Hogan.
Brian Sandoval of Nevada, another Republican governor in a bluish state who has opposed efforts by Republicans in Washington to overhaul health care, also retains his place as one of the most popular governors in the country. Sixty-two percent of Nevadans back the two-term governor who is preparing to leave office next year.
Kay Ivey (R-Ala.), who replaced former Gov. Robert Bentley in early April, is off to a strong start in the Yellowhammer State, joining the ranks of the most popular governors in the country during her opening months in office. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Alabamians approve of the job performance of the former lieutenant governor, who has emphasized her intentions to “steady the ship” in the state following a series of high-profile scandals in the Republican-controlled Governor’s Mansion and Legislature.
Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, who announced in April that he would not seek a third term, remains the most unpopular Democratic governor in the country, with 64 percent of Nutmeg Staters taking a negative view of his job performance.
Bruce Rauner (R-Ill.) and Gina Raimondo (D-R.I.), two governors facing difficult paths to re-election next year, are also among the most unpopular governors. Almost half (47 percent) of Rhode Islanders said they disapprove of Raimondo while the share of voters approving of her job performance declined 5 points, to 43 percent. Illinoisans also soured further on Rauner amid his latest budget wrangling with Democratic state lawmakers, and 49 percent of registered voters in the state disapprove of the businessman who ran as a disruptor of the status quo in 2014.
Some of the newcomers in office elected last November are also seeing declining fortune in terms of voter perception in their states. Gov. John Carney (D-Del.), saw his net approval rating drop 19 points from the first quarter as he negotiated a new budget deal, although half of registered voters in the state still back him. It’s a similar story for Jim Justice in West Virginia, who saw a 17-point drop in his net rating after clashing over the budget with Republicans in the statehouse as he attempted to implement some new taxes. Phil Scott (R-Vt.), also saw a 13-point drop in his net rating.
Others who saw among the steepest drops in net approval included Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), who dropped 9 net points, Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) — who has also expressed concerns about the Obamacare repeal effort in Washington — lost 14 net points, and Govs. Kate Brown (D-Ore.), Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) and Greg Abbott (R-Texas) — who each lost 7 net points on their ratings.
There were few governors who saw upticks in support among their constituents. Gov. Matt Mead (R-Wyo.) led the way, breaking into the top 10 with a 19-point swing in his net rating: 67 percent of registered voters said they approved of his job performance, up 7 points from the first quarter, while the share of voters disapproving of him dropped from 27 percent to 15 percent.
North Carolina’s new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, also saw a 4-point net increase and 53 percent of Tar Heel voters now approve of the former state attorney general, who in late March reached a deal with Republicans in the state Assembly on a partial repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, also known as the “bathroom bill.” Republican Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Gov. Bill Walker (I-Alaska) were also the beneficiaries of 4-point bumps in net approval rating.
*Newly appointed Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is not included in this edition of the rankings. Morning Consult has begun tracking voter sentiment of her job performance and will release results in the fall.
|State||Governor||Approve||Disapprove||Don't Know/No Opinion||MOE|
|Louisiana||John Bel Edwards||58%||29%||14%||2%|
|New Hampshire||Chris Sununu||57%||23%||21%||3%|
|New Jersey||Chris Christie||25%||69%||5%||1%|
|New Mexico||Susana Martinez||44%||45%||10%||3%|
|New York||Andrew Cuomo||60%||30%||10%||1%|
|North Carolina||Roy Cooper||53%||28%||20%||1%|
|North Dakota||Doug Burgum||66%||15%||20%||5%|
|Rhode Island||Gina Raimondo||43%||47%||10%||4%|
|South Carolina||Henry McMaster||52%||20%||29%||2%|
|South Dakota||Dennis Daugaard||65%||25%||10%||5%|
|West Virginia||Jim Justice||51%||34%||15%||3%|