America’s Most (and Least) Popular Governors

Among all of the nation's governors, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has experienced the largest drop in support from his constituents as the Republican has struggled to handle the Flint water crisis.

A Morning Consult survey of more than 66,000 voters in all 50 states taken from January until early May found the number of voters who disapprove of Snyder has risen 17 points to 63 percent. At the same time, the percentage of voters who approve of Snyder has plummeted 13 points – the biggest swing in sentiment Morning Consult has found in any politician tracked in the past year.

Republicans take eight of the spots on the list of 10 most popular governors. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is America's most popular governor, and he is followed very closely by fellow Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland. Delaware's Jack Markell is the country's most popular Democratic governor.

Despite national outrage being directed to Snyder and his administration, he does not have the worst approval rating. America's least popular governor is Republican Gov. Sam Brownback in Kansas, who is embroiled in ongoing budget woes that followed large tax cuts. Only 26 percent of Kansas voters approved of his job performance, compared to 65 percent who said they did not.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, whose state has experienced job losses to neighboring Massachusetts, is the second-least popular governor in the country and the least popular Democrat. His approval is 29 percent, while 64 percent of voters in the Nutmeg State disapprove of his performance.

America's newest governors, Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin and Louisiana Democrat John Bel Edwards, have experienced opposite fates as voters have gotten to know them better since they were elected last fall. In the Bluegrass State, Bevin's approval rating sits at 33 percent, well below the 57 percent support which his Democratic predecessor Steve Beshear enjoyed before he left office. Edwards, meanwhile, has a 10 percent higher approval rating than the 35 percent Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal had at the end of his term.

Of the six governors seeking re-election this year, most are close to or just within the margin of error of 50 percent approval. That includes North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who is currently in the national spotlight for a controversial state policy regulating transgender bathroom rights. The two exceptions are Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, both of whom top 60 percent approval.

Running for president had only a minor impact for the three Republican governors who did so. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie saw his approval rating drop four points to 36 percent, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich saw hardly any change. Walker's approval rating is 43 percent, while Kasich's is 61 percent.

Morning Consult's survey was conducted between January and May. The data was weighed using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Sample sizes varied from state to state based on their population.

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StateGovernorApproveDisapproveDon’t Know/UndecidedMargin of Error
AlabamaRobert Bentley46%45%9%3.0%
AlaskaBill Walker62%21%17%6.6%
ArizonaDoug Ducey49%32%18%2.6%
ArkansasAsa Hutchinson62%22%16%3.8%
CaliforniaJerry Brown57%32%11%1.3%
ColoradoJohn Hickenlooper60%28%13%2.9%
ConnecticutDan Malloy29%64%7%3.6%
DelawareJack Markell66%23%11%5.4%
FloridaRick Scott49%41%10%1.5%
GeorgiaNathan Deal58%27%15%2.1%
HawaiiDavid Ige47%40%13%6.3%
IdahoButch Otter49%38%12%4.8%
IllinoisBruce Rauner34%54%12%1.8%
IndianaMike Pence48%39%13%2.5%
IowaTerry Branstad47%44%9%3.5%
KansasSam Brownback26%65%8%3.8%
KentuckyMatt Bevin33%48%19%4.8%
LouisianaJohn Bel Edwards45%33%22%5.6%
MainePaul LePage38%58%4%5.0%
MarylandLarry Hogan71%16%13%2.9%
MassachusettsCharlie Baker72%16%12%2.8%
MichiganRick Snyder32%63%6%1.9%
MinnesotaMark Dayton61%30%9%3.0%
MississippiPhil Byant60%24%17%4.1%
MissouriJay Nixon50%34%16%2.5%
MontanaSteve Bullock61%21%18%5.6%
NebraskaPete Ricketts58%29%13%4.7%
NevadaBrian Sandoval62%20%18%3.8%
New HampshireMaggie Hassan56%33%11%5.3%
New JerseyChris Christie36%60%4%2.3%
New MexicoSusana Martinez48%45%7%4.9%
New YorkAndrew Cuomo60%31%9%1.5%
North CarolinaPat McCrory50%38%13%2.0%
North DakotaJack Dalrymple63%20%18%6.3%
OhioJohn Kasich61%29%10%1.8%
OklahomaMary Fallin42%47%11%3.5%
OregonKate Brown54%26%20%2.9%
PennsylvaniaTom Wolf44%45%12%1.7%
Rhode IslandGina Raimondo41%53%5%5.7%
South CarolinaNikki Haley60%29%10%3.1%
South DakotaDennis Daugaard61%28%11%6.6%
TennesseeBill Haslam63%22%15%2.7%
TexasGreg Abbott60%25%15%1.5%
UtahGary Herbert64%23%12%4.0%
VermontPeter Shumlin55%37%8%6.6%
VirginiaTerry McAuliffe58%24%18%2.3%
WashingtonJay Inslee55%28%17%2.5%
West VirginiaEarl Ray Tomblin60%29%11%4.0%
WisconsinScott Walker43%53%4%2.7%
WyomingMatt Mead67%24%9%7.6%


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