The second part of our Missouri poll looks at the approval ratings of the state's top politicians:
-Jay Nixon. It's been a pretty successful first year for the state's new Governor. 42% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 25% disapproving. In a time when the popularity of many chief executives across the country is tanking, those are very solid numbers. Nixon is one of only four Governors PPP has polled on all year with a disapproval rating under 30% (the others being Jack Markell of Delaware, Mike Beebe of Arkansas, and Pat Quinn of Illinois.) The 33% of voters with no opinion of him is unusually high though, an indication that he may need to do more to step up his visibility across the state.
-Kit Bond. Over the course of PPP's last three Missouri polls Bond's approval rating has gone from 44/43 to 57/27 and now down to 41/34. What explains the wild fluctuation? The poll showing Bond with strong numbers was taken right after his retirement announcement, an event that clearly gave him a strong but temporary bounce. His approval's gone back to what it was last summer but his disapproval remains lower. That's largely because of a difference in his numbers among Democrats compared to last summer- his approval with them remains the same but his disapproval has gone from 53% to 43% with 'no opinion' going from 22% to 31%. That may be some continued post-retirement civility: why bother disapproving of someone on the way out?
-Claire McCaskill. McCaskill's spent less time in statewide office than Nixon or Bond, but voters in the state have the strongest opinions about her with 45% disapproving of her performance and 42% approving. Those actually aren't particularly bad approval numbers for a Democratic Senator in what is proving to be a very difficult end of the year for the party. The evenly divided opinions about her though suggest Missouri could have yet another highly competitive Senate contest in 2012, further enhancing its reputation as one of the country's foremost battleground states.
Full results here