Chris Christie Is Now America’s Most Unpopular Governor

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a tough 2016, and this year isn’t starting off any better for him: He’s now the most unpopular governor in the country, according to the new Morning Consult Governor Approval rankings.

More than 85,000 registered voters across America evaluated the job performance of their governors from from January 2017 through March 2017 to determine the latest rankings (Full Methodology).

Just 25 percent of New Jerseyans approve of their Republican governor, who continues to be dogged by the “Bridgegate” scandal. Seventy-one percent disapprove of Christie, who endorsed Donald Trump for president after dropping out of the GOP’s presidential primary in early 2016.

Related: Some Scandal-Plagued Governors Boost Their Image Among the Public

Christie’s numbers took a turn for the worse in the months following that endorsement, and they’ve continued to trend in the wrong direction. The continuing slide was enough to knock Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback off of his perch as the country’s most unpopular governor.

Brownback is facing an intraparty battle with more moderate Republicans in the state legislature who are trying to expand Medicaid and address a budget shortfall prompted by tax cuts pushed by the governor. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Kansans disapprove of Brownback, who has been floated as a possible ambassadorial pick for Trump, and 27 percent of Kansans still approve of his job performance.

The two most popular governors are Republicans in traditionally blue states: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland. Both governors have reputations as shrewd, bipartisan dealmakers who value results over party purity, and their constituents seem to appreciate that style. Three-fourths (75 percent) of Bay Staters approve of Baker, while 17 percent disapprove. In Maryland, 73 percent approve of Hogan, and 16 percent disapprove.

Another Republican governor in a blue state, Phil Scott of Vermont, is also off to a good start after winning in November: 68 percent of Vermonters approve of Scott, while 16 percent disapprove. His approval is considerably better than his Democratic predecessor’s, Peter Shumlin, who had a 53 percent approval rating and a 40 percent disapproval rating in our rankings from September.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina unseated embattled former Gov. Pat McCrory in November, amid the economic fallout of the state’s passage of the controversial legislation known as the “bathroom bill.” At the start, Cooper is much more popular than his Republican predecessor. Half (50 percent) of North Carolinians approve of the former state attorney general’s job performance, compared with 46 percent who approved of McCrory in September. Cooper’s disapproval rating sits at 29 percent, lower than the 44 percent who disapproved of McCrory’s job performance in the months ahead of the election.

Two governors elected in high-profile races in 2015 continue to make gains in the eyes of the public. Louisiana’s governor, John Bel Edwards, has the approval of 60 percent of Bayou Staters, up from 46 percent in September. His disapproval rating has dropped to 29 percent, down 10 points from the previous rankings. In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin continues his upward trend after getting off to a rough start in the Bluegrass State. Half (50 percent) of Kentuckians approve of Bevin, up from 45 percent in September and 33 percent in early 2016. His disapproval rating is down 2 points from September, from 41 percent to 39 percent, and is down 9 points from early 2016, when 48 percent of Kentuckians disapproved of his job performance.

Other notes:

-Dan Malloy of Connecticut remains the most unpopular Democratic governor in the country, although he has bettered his image slightly among his constituents. Almost 3 in 10 (29 percent) of voters in Connecticut approve of his job performance, up from 26 percent in September. His disapproval is down, to 66 percent from 70 percent, from our previous rankings.

-Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has improved his standing in traditionally blue Illinois. Forty-two percent of Illinoisans now approve of Rauner, up from 33 percent in September, while his disapproval rating has dropped from 56 percent to 49 percent over the same time period.

-Florida Gov. Rick Scott is also trending up. The Republican’s approval rating is up 8 points, from 49 percent to 57 percent, and his disapproval rating dropped 6 points, from 42 percent to 36 percent.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) was not included in the list because he recently replaced Nikki Haley, who now serves as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

 

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StateGovernorApproveDisapproveDK/NOMOE
MassachusettsCharlie Baker75%17%9%2%
MarylandLarry Hogan73%16%11%2%
North DakotaDoug Burgum69%16%15%5%
VermontPhil Scott68%16%16%6%
ArkansasAsa Hutchinson67%22%11%3%
South DakotaDennis Daugaard68%23%9%5%
NevadaBrian Sandoval64%22%14%3%
DelawareJohn Carney61%20%19%4%
TennesseeBill Haslam64%24%12%2%
TexasGreg Abbott64%24%12%1%
GeorgiaNathan Deal63%25%12%2%
UtahGary Herbert64%28%8%3%
IndianaEric Holcomb54%19%27%2%
MississippiPhil Bryant61%26%13%3%
West VirginiaJim Justice58%24%19%3%
New HampshireChris Sununu55%22%23%4%
WyomingMatt Mead60%27%13%7%
ColoradoJohn Hickenlooper61%28%11%2%
MontanaSteve Bullock59%28%13%5%
LouisianaJohn Bel Edwards60%29%11%3%
NebraskaPete Ricketts61%30%9%4%
New YorkAndrew Cuomo62%31%7%1%
OregonKate Brown58%31%11%2%
MissouriEric Greitens51%25%24%2%
OhioJohn Kasich59%33%9%1%
IdahoButch Otter58%32%9%4%
ArizonaDoug Ducey56%31%13%2%
CaliforniaJerry Brown58%34%8%1%
WashingtonJay Inslee56%33%11%2%
MinnesotaMark Dayton58%35%6%2%
North CarolinaRoy Cooper50%29%21%2%
VirginiaTerry McAuliffe53%32%15%2%
FloridaRick Scott57%36%7%1%
KentuckyMatt Bevin50%39%11%2%
HawaiiDavid Ige48%40%11%5%
PennsylvaniaTom Wolf48%43%9%1%
Rhode IslandGina Raimondo48%45%6%5%
IowaTerry Branstad48%46%5%3%
MainePaul LePage48%49%3%4%
AlabamaRobert Bentley44%48%7%2%
New MexicoSusana Martinez43%48%8%4%
WisconsinScott Walker46%51%4%2%
IllinoisBruce Rauner42%49%10%1%
AlaskaBill Walker43%53%4%6%
OklahomaMary Fallin41%52%7%3%
MichiganRick Snyder40%54%7%1%
ConnecticutDan Malloy29%66%5%3%
KansasSam Brownback27%66%7%3%
New JerseyChris Christie25%71%4%2%

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