Bev Perdue's approval rating is now down to 25%, with 55% of voters disapproving of her performance and 20% ambivalent.
From a high of 44% in March, Perdue's approval dropped to 41% in April, 34% in May, 30% in June, and now 25%.
Her most precipitous decline has come among Democrats- the number of them looking positively on her performance has dropped 28 points from 66% in March to now 38%. A 40% plurality of voters in her party now disapprove of her performance. She's also had a 17 point decrease in her support from independents and a nine point one among Republicans.
Voters tend to want leaders who exude confidence and seem steady at the ship, especially in difficult times like these. In the first few months of her administration Perdue seemed strong and decisive but since releasing her proposed budget in mid-March she has come across as almost paralyzed, scared to do much of anything lest there be negative political implications.
Since the result of all that has been plummeting approval ratings anyway it almost seems like time for Perdue to tell herself that she needs to govern as if she wasn't going to run for reelection and truly start pursuing the agenda that she laid out for the state during her campaign last year. She has said repeatedly that she admires the way O. Max Gardner used the Depression as an opportunity to transform the way things are done in the state, but she herself has not led in that way. It may be too late to do anything bold on that front for this year but she has at least two and a half more to bring meaningful positive change before she has to really start facing the voters again.
One way Perdue could have prevented this steep of a drop from occurring- and can turn it around in the future- is to pursue a more clear policy agenda. Bills like the smoking ban in public places, the comprehensive sex education bill, and the school violence prevention act during this session all enjoyed broad public support, especially among her party's base. But other than signing them the Governor chose not to play a public role in advocating for their passage. She could have won more affection with the folks who voted for her by choosing to be more visible on things going on in the General Assembly besides just the budget.
Perdue's in bad shape- the only Senator or Governor we've polled on this year with a worse approval rating is Roland Burris. But it's only been six months, and she has shown she has the vision to govern in a very different way than she has so far that would likely help her fare much better in the court of public opinion. Whether she chooses to follow through on that vision or continue on her current squeamish path may determine her ultimate fate as Governor.
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