Friday, May 14, 2010

Governors down

We hear all the time about the anti-Washington sentiments of the electorate this year and those certainly exist, but voters hate their Governors right now just as much as they hate their members of Congress.

We asked voters nationwide whether they approved of their Governors and the -8 approval spread (39/47) matched the reviews they gave their members of Congress (37/45.) There is remarkably little partisan division in how people view their state level chief executives- 39% of Democrats approve, 39% of Republicans do, and 37% of independents do. Voters across party lines are pretty unhappy with how their states are being run.

One thing these numbers show is that we may have to change what we view as a good approval rating for a Governor. If one is breaking even, that actually has to be seen as a pretty strong performance. And even ones with slightly negative reviews are doing pretty well.

The other takeaway? Folks serving in state office right now and running anti-Washington campaigns against Congressional incumbents may need to be careful- voters could be just as disgusted with what's happening in their state capitals right now as in the nation's capital.

Full results here


Christian Liberty said...

Back on January 5, PPP wrote:

-The average approval for Republican Governors was 51%, while for Democratic Governors it was 44%.

-The biggest gap, interestingly, was whether folks were Obama state Governors or McCain state Governors, regardless of the party affiliation of the Governor themselves. McCain state Governors average 54% approval to 41% for Obama state Governors.

Americans were more approving of Republican governors than Democrat governors... and more approving of governors in McCain states than Obama states.

Obama state voters were more unhappy with their governors. This is also supported by a December poll showing that residents of McCain states were more happy than residents of Obama states. 9 of the top 12 happiest states (according to the CDC rankings) voted for McCain-Palin. At the same time, all 12 of the 12 least happy states voted for Obama-Biden.

Average approval ratings have fallen since January, for governors as well as senators. (But no breakdown on governors by state by which we may compare January's numbers). When approval of politicians is so low, the last thing most Americans and independents want is for politicians to advocate more intrusive government policies, which are likely to cause even more corruption and more discontent. Bigger government only causes bigger discontent and more momentum for limited government reforms.


this poll's internals:

65% of McCain voters are very excited about voting in the midterm, only 46% of Obama voters.

Obama voters are more approving of their governors and their congressmen than McCain voters. (McCain voters are more likely than Obama voters to provide the change that is coming in November. Obama voters are supporting the status quo. McCain voters are supporting change.)

65% of conservatives are very excited to vote, but only 52% of liberals. 64% of Republicans are very excited, but only 50% of Democrats.

Voting excitement is strongest in the south and midwest, where Democrats are weakest politically and most vulnerable.

--> There will be a massive shift toward conservative policies and conservative candidates, supported by the realignment of independents with Republicans. Republicans and conservatives have the excitement and candidates to change America for the better.

Stephanie said...

Nate Silver has done some analysis on this already (and for all I know so has Tom). There is a hypothesis that McCain state residents are more likely to blame Obama for problems (thus let their governors off more lightly), while Obama state residents want to blame some chief executive but not the POTUS. But there's a better explanation for this variability (also a classic instance of correlation-does-not-imply-cause): the nation's most popular governors govern small states, and the nation's least popular tend to govern large ones. Govs (both Ds and Rs) with eye-poppingly high approval usually govern small states where the state capital doesn't seem so far away, they're more likely to have a personal connection to the voter or at least to the part of the state the voter comes from, and they aren't as apt to be seen as stuffed shirts far away, generic politicians, or people from rival entities (upstate/ downstate). Mike Beebe of AR and John Hoeven of ND and Dave Freudenthal of WY (who isn't running again, alas) come to mind. Governors of larger states are less likely to have a personal or local connection to any given voter, and are more likely to be seen as generic politicians (hence disliked). Small states are also more likely to be red states (though of course there are exceptions: VT). Tom, can you link to earlier analyses of this question?

Anonymous said...

Christian Liberty,
Very, very well done. Lots of good research data. I am truely impressed. Keep up the good work.

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