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Pawlenty Disapproval Numbers Increasing Amid VP Talk

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Although Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is not beloved by all in the Gopher State, he has maintained a consistent level of job approval throughout his gubernatorial tenure. In nearly 60 public opinion polls of Minnesotans conducted since early 2003, Pawlenty has dipped below the 50 percent mark in job approval in less than 10 of them.

Pawlenty enjoyed some of the best marks of his career in 2007, when his most notable actions included a firm stance against the DFL on tax issues in the state. Overall, across more than a dozen polls that year, Pawlenty had an average job approval rating of 56 percent, with just a 40 percent average disapproval rating.

This +16 net rating is very impressive for a governor who never received a majority of the vote in either of his two successful gubernatorial campaigns.

However, as Pawlenty has become part of the constant chatter of possible vice-presidential running mates to John McCain, his ratings have taken a bit of a hit: Pawlenty’s disapproval numbers have averaged 45 percent this year, and his approval numbers have fallen a bit to 53 percent. His net approval rating has been cut in half to +8.

By another measure, Rasmussen has also measured Pawlenty’s rankings as higher in polls conducted at the end of 2007 (50 percent “excellent? + “good? versus 49 percent “fair? + “poor?) than compared to those conducted in 2008 (46 percent “excellent? + “good? versus 54 percent “fair? + “poor?) – a 9-point net approval drop.

It not at all clear that Minnesotans would rally behind Pawlenty as a VP nominee (Minnesotans have sent enough Vice-Presidents to D.C. that perhaps the novelty has worn off). A February 2008 SurveyUSA poll found just 28 percent of Gopher State residents think Pawlenty would be able to effectively campaign for vice president and serve as governor at the same time; 61 percent thought he would not.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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