-Jack Markell's approval rating is now 40/31, down from a 62/17 mark when PPP polled the state in March. On the surface that may look like a disastrous decline. But Markell's high early numbers came during his honeymoon period as Governor and now after almost a year in office it's probably inevitable that he's bearing more of the frustration from voters about economic woes in the state. His numbers compare quite favorably to chief executives in neighboring states like Jon Corzine and Ed Rendell. These days you're doing well as a Governor if your numbers aren't in the red.
In an unusual twist Markell actually has a higher approval rating with independents (46%) than he does Democrats (43%). Most of the decline in his numbers over the course of 2009 has come from within his party, where his approval was 76% on our Delaware poll earlier this year. That's the product of having to make tough budgetary decisions.
-The state's two Senators have taken a hit in their numbers as well, most notably Tom Carper. His approval now stands at 44/31, down from 57/26 earlier in the year. Similar to Markell, Carper has good numbers with independents (49/30) but has seen a decline in his standing with Democrats from a 73% mark earlier in the year to now 52%.
It's not easy to attribute Carper's decline with the base exclusively to the liberal or more conservative wing of the party. Among those Democrats who don't approve of the job he's doing 26% think the party in Congress is too conservative while an almost equal 24% think it's too liberal.
Ted Kaufman's approval is 24/22.
-One thing that's interesting to note about both Markell and Carper is that while they have unusually low numbers with voters of their own party, they also have unusually high numbers with Republicans. 32% approve of Markell and 28% approve of Carper in a time when many Democratic politicians across the country are getting single digit approvals from Republicans or at best scoring in the teens. A similar situation exists with Mike Castle's numbers where he gets worse than normal reviews from Republicans but considerably better than normal ones from Democrats. Delaware voters just seem to be less partisan than those in most states, perhaps a function of the state's size and maybe of the longevity of some of its politicians as well.
Full results here