The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

In Virginia, McDonnell Endures the Burden of a 55% Approval Rating


From Quinnipiac this morning, news that my governor ranks among the most popular in the nation:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has a strong 55 – 26 percent job approval rating, as many more voters like him personally than back his policies, according to the inaugural Quinnipiac University Virginia poll released today.

“Gov. Bob McDonnell’s overall support levels are among the highest when compared to other governors around the country,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “And they are far better than those of his GOP counterparts in Florida, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Even among Democrats he is within 10 points of parity, an unusually high level of support for a governor from the opposition party.” 

McDonnell’s job approval is 77 – 11 percent among Republicans and 59 – 24 percent among independent voters. Democrats disapprove 42 – 33 percent. Men approve of his performance 61 – 25 percent and women approve 50 – 26 percent. White voters approve 58 – 25 percent, while black voters approve 50 – 25 percent. 

“The legislature doesn’t rate quite as highly with Virginians, although its 48 – 33 percent approval rating is pretty good compared to legislatures in other states,” said Brown. “No matter whether a governor is up or down in the polls, he or she almost always fares better in the public eye than does the state legislature.”

 Virginia’s other statewide leaders, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, also fare well with the public: Bolling gets a 39 – 20 percent approval rating with 42 percent undecided; Cuccinelli gets a 49 – 31 percent approval, with 20 percent undecided. 

Somewhere, a Washington Post editorial board member sheds a tear, as their editorials deemed Cuccinelli particularly outrageous and unacceptable during the 2009 campaign. Note that Cuccinelli is among those leading the legal fight, challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Virginia voters like Gov. McDonnell personally 57 – 16 percent. But when asked if they like most of his policies, support drops to 48 – 33 percent.

A 48 to 33 percent split on policy approval is still pretty darn good compared to most governors in both parties these days.

Tags: Bob McDonnell , Ken Cuccinelli


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