Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wyoming loves its politicians

There isn't a state in the country we've polled that loves its politicians like Wyoming.

Two weeks ago we posted a chart showing approval ratings for all 59 Senators we'd polled on during the second half of 2010. At the top of that list was Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar with a 59/29 approval rating. Both of Wyoming's Senators exceed that, now making them the two most popular Senators we've ever polled on. Tops is John Barrasso with a 69/25 approval breakdown (+44 spread) and not too far behind Mike Enzi whose approval is 63/24 (+39.)

The biggest reason for their eye popping numbers is the partisan lean of the state- Republican Senators ought to be pretty popular in a place where more than 60% of voters are Republicans. But they also both have approval numbers in the mid-30s with Democrats, which is a good deal above average crossover support, and they have good numbers with independents as well.

In addition to having the two most popular Senators we've ever polled on, it also has the most popular Governor, or at least it did until last week. An amazing 71% of voters approve of the job Dave Freudenthal did as Governor to only 18% who disapprove. That puts him ahead of Joe Manchin for first place on that list. Freudenthal's 66% approval rating with Republicans is higher than we've ever found for another Governor in the country overall, with the exception of Manchin. Freudenthal also had 85% approval with Democrats and 69% with independents.

If ever a Democrat could be elected to the US Senate from Wyoming it would probably be Freudenthal. Which means a Democrat might never get elected to the US Senate from Wyoming. Despite his amazing popularity Freudenthal trails Barrasso 56-36 in a hypothetical 2012 Senate contest.

Freudenthal wins 80% of Democrats to Barrasso's 73% of Republicans and pretty much breaks even with independents. That would be a formula for victory for a Democratic candidate in pretty much every other state in the country. But with the party breakdown in Wyoming 64% Republicans and 23% Democrats that's evidently a little bit too much even for him to overcome. Maybe a Democrat with Freudenthal's appeal could be competitive in a Senate race at some point in an open seat situation, but I'd put my money on not seeing a Democratic Senator from Wyoming in my life time.

Newly inaugurated Governor Matt Mead starts out popular with 53% of voters viewing him favorably, 17% unfavorably, and 30% having no opinion. The one politician there's not a lot of hope for in Wyoming is Barack Obama, who 66% of voters disapprove of to only 29% approving. Those are the worst numbers we've found for him in any state.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

And I'd bet my money on not seeing a Democratic Congressman from Idaho's First District - unless they're named Larry or Walt.

Unknown said...

My understanding is that Wyoming and Idaho have one Democrat between them and he moves back and forth.

Unknown said...

I actually LOL'd at that.

Unknown said...

They thought there was a Republican in Vermont, but it turned out he was just buying maple syrup on his way to New Hampshire.

NRH said...

No, no, there's a whole Republican community in Vermont. They've been living in an isolated town for the last three decades and don't know the rest of the state swapped over, like Japanese soldiers on Pacific islands who didn't find out the war was over until years later.

I'm not sure that guy from Wyoming and Idaho is actually a Democrat. I think he might just be a temp worker who gets sent in to pick up any mail that might have been sent to 'Idaho Democratic Party' or 'Wyoming Democratic Party' offices by mistake.

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