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Pawlenty Approval Rating Sinks to Lowest Level Since October 2006

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Perhaps it is due to the Governor presiding over record spikes in unemployment statewide. Perhaps it is the Governor's stated opposition to the federal stimulus legislation that landed Minnesota billions of dollars. Or perhaps the Governor is losing his public relations battle with the DFL leadership in St. Paul over how to handle the state budget crisis.

Whatever the reason, the latest SurveyUSA poll now finds Tim Pawlenty's approval rating at its lowest level in nearly two and a half years.

The new SurveyUSA poll, conducted of 600 adults from February 20-22, 2009, measures Pawlenty's statewide support at 48 percent - the lowest out of nearly three-dozen polls conducted since a mid-October 2006 survey in the midst of Pawlenty's reelection battle with DFLer Mike Hatch. The new numbers are also the third lowest for the Governor out of 54 polls conducted since late Summer 2005. Forty-four percent of Minnesotans currently disapprove of the Governor's performance.

The Governor's approval rating dropped from 53 percent in SurveyUSA's January poll, while his disapproval rating increased three points from 41 percent.

While this is not good news for Pawlenty, he can take solace in the fact that the job approval ratings dropped for governors in 11 of the 14 states SurveyUSA tracks, including by much larger margins for Democrats Chet Culver of Iowa and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin.

Pawlenty's approval rating is still higher than Culver's (46 percent) and Doyle's (40 percent), and the Gopher State Governor only endured an 8-point net approval drop from January. Culver suffered a 13-point net approval drop and Doyle a 17-point decline.

Other governors across the nation faced an even greater backlash from their constituencies during the last four tumultuous weeks, such as Democrats Jay Nixon of Missouri (21-point net approval drop), Deval Patrick of Massachusetts (44-point net decline), and David Paterson of New York (a staggering 51-point drop).

And there is some more good news for Pawlenty: he is still getting warm reviews from nearly twice as many Democrats statewide (28 percent) as he is getting negative notices from Republicans (15 percent) - an important statistic, considering Democrats hold a significant party ID edge over the GOP statewide (measured at 8 points in the new SurveyUSA poll).

Pawlenty enjoys the 5th highest approval rating of the 14 governors surveyed - 11 of which are Democrats.

Change in Gubernatorial Job Approval Rating, January-February 2009

State
Governor
Jan. 09
Feb. 09
Approval Change
Net Approval Change
AL
Bob Riley
60
64
+4
+8
VA
Tim Kaine
54
57
+3
+3
KS
Kathleen Sebelius
57
56
-1
-3
MO
Jay Nixon
63
55
-8
-21
MN
Tim Pawlenty
53
48
-5
-8
KY
Steve Beshear
48
48
0
-1
IA
Chet Culver
50
46
-4
-13
NM
Bill Richardson
47
41
-6
-9
WI
Jim Doyle
48
40
-8
-17
WA
Christine Gregoire
42
38
-4
-8
OR
Ted Kulongoski
42
38
-4
-7
NY
David Paterson
54
30
-24
-51
MA
Deval Patrick
49
28
-21
-44
CA
Arnold Schwarzenegger
28
25
-3
-6
Ave.
 
49.6
43.9
-5.8
-12.6
Note: SurveyUSA polling data compiled by Smart Politics.



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1 Comment


  • Has the Governor ever achieved the mythical 50% of the popular vote in his elections as Governor?

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

    Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

    Political Crumbs

    Evolving?

    When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


    73 Months and Counting

    January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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