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Politics & Policy

The Ten Most Popular Governors in the Country Are…

The Republican Governors Association cheerfully touts the good news that the ten most popular governors in the country are all members of the GOP, pointing to new numbers from Morning Consult polling.

Of course, there’s this little detail: “Morning Consult surveyed 195,704 registered U.S. voters from April 1 through July 10 to determine their latest Governor Approval Rankings.” That seems like a really long time to be out there surveying people.

With that caveat in mind, quite a few GOP governors can walk with an extra spring in their step this morning. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Larry Hogan of Maryland, Matt Mead of Wyoming, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Kay Ivey of Alabama, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Phil Scott of Vermont, Gary Herbert of Utah, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas enjoy approval ratings between 60 percent (Hutchinson) and 71 percent (Baker).

Then again, perhaps an approaching departure makes respondents’ hearts grow fonder. Looking ahead to 2018, Daugaard, Mead, Sandoval and Haslam cannot run for reelection because of term limits.

The RGA pointed out that a couple of key Republican governors who are not term-limited and are likely to run again in 2018 or who have already announced reelection bids also posted good numbers: Texas governor Greg Abbott, New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu, and Nebraska governor Pete Rickett all scored approval percentages between 57 and 60 percent.

Of course, seven of the ten least popular governors in the country are Republicans too. This is what happens when there are only 16 Democratic governors in the country.

The numbers look pretty bad for Republicans Chris Christie of New Jersey, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Rick Snyder of Michigan, none of whom will be on the ballot in 2018 because of term-limits. (New Jersey’s gubernatorial race is this year and Democrat Phil Murphy is a heavy favorite.)  The third least-popular governor in the country is Democrat Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, who announced in April that he would not seek a third term.

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker clocks in with a 43 percent approval rating and 51 percent disapproval rating, and he is running for reelection in 2018. Democrats are utterly convinced they’re going to beat Walker this year, just as they were similarly confident in 2010, the 2012 recall, and in 2014.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who recently had a veto of state income tax hikes overridden by the state legislature, is at 40 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval.

Independent Bill Walker in Alaska clocks in with a 42 percent approval rating and 48 percent disapproval.

The outlook for the tail end of the “least popular” list isn’t that bad. Maine Governor Paul LePage, a term-limited Republican, is about even, with 47 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval. Democrat Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island is at 43 percent approval, 47 percent disapproval.


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