Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Pawlenty Approval Rating Defies National Trend; Eclipses 50 Percent Mark Once Again

Bookmark and Share

The 45th SurveyUSA poll measuring Minnesotans' approval of Tim Pawlenty's job performance finds the Republican Governor back once again in familiar, positive territory.

Last month, for only the 6th time in 45 SurveyUSA polls, Pawlenty fell below the 50 percent mark at 48 percent. But in the latest poll, conducted of 600 Gopher State residents from March 20-22, the Governor's approval rating now stands at 51 percent, with 46 percent disapproving.

Although the Governor remains more popular than not, critics will undoubtedly point to Pawlenty's steadily increasing negative numbers as a warning sign for the Governor.

True, the Governor's disapproval numbers have narrowly increased in each of the last four cycles of SurveyUSA polling - from 38 percent in November, to 39 percent in December, to 41 percent in January, to 44 percent in February, to 46 percent in March.

However, the modest scale of these rising negative numbers, in a time of economic crisis in the Gopher State, reveals less about Pawlenty's perceived shrinking political capital, and more about the strong foundation of his support statewide.

How is this so?

Consider the numbers facing many of Pawlenty's fellow governors from around the country (all from SurveyUSA's March polling):

· Democratic Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's approval rating has slid to an all-time low of 32 percent - only the second time he's fallen below the 40 percent mark since May 2005 in SurveyUSA polling.

· California's Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is enduring approval ratings (26 percent) that are less than half of what they were in December 2007 (55 percent).

· Once exceedingly popular Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebalius of Kansas now faces her highest disapproval rating (41 percent) in 45 SurveyUSA polls conducted since May 2005.

· Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's approval rating (27 percent) is approximately half of what it was just three months ago in December 2008 (53 percent).

· Democratic New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's disapproval rating (54 percent) is at an all time high across the nearly four dozen polls conducted by SurveyUSA since May 2005.

· Democratic New York Governor David Patterson's approval rating (24 percent) is now less than half of what it was just two months ago in January (54 percent).

· Alabama's Republican Governor Bob Riley currently faces an approval rating below the 60 percent mark (57 percent) for the first time since December 2006, and is his lowest rating since October 2006.

· Democratic Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski is suffering through approval ratings at their lowest mark (37 percent) since September 2006 (36 percent).

· Democratic Washington Governor Christine Gregoire now faces her lowest approval rating (36 percent) since May 2005 (34 percent).

In fact, Pawlenty is one of only three Governors in the 14 states polled by SurveyUSA who currently has an approval rating in excess of the vote received during the state's last gubernatorial election. And only Virginia's Democratic Governor Tim Kaine (+5) has a higher net favorability rating vis-à-vis vote percentage than Pawlenty (+4). The average gubernatorial job performance rating across the more than one dozen states polled is 11+ points south of the average election vote tally.

Gubernatorial Vote Vis-à-vis Job Performance Ratings

State
Governor
Year
Vote
Approval
Difference
VA
Tim Kaine
2005
52
57
+5
MN
Tim Pawlenty
2006
47
51
+4
MO
Jay Nixon
2008
58
60
+2
AL
Bob Riley
2006
57
57
0
KS
Kathleen Sebelius
2006
58
55
-3
IA
Chet Culver
2006
54
46
-8
KY
Steve Beshear
2007
59
49
-10
OR
Ted Kulongoski
2006
51
37
-14
WA
Christine Gregoire
2008
53
36
-17
WI
Jim Doyle
2006
53
32
-21
NM
Bill Richardson
2006
69
42
-27
MA
Deval Patrick
2006
56
27
-29
CA
Arnold Schwarzenegger
2006
56
26
-30
NY
David Paterson
N/A
N/A
24
N/A
 
Average
 
55.6
42.8
-11.4
Note: Compiled by Smart Politics. Polling data from SurveyUSA.

When viewed in this broader context, the stability and strength of Governor Pawlenty's approval rating is quite remarkable, considering he is presiding over record increases in unemployment and a budget battle with a strong DFL caucus.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Former Deputy AG James Comey Views Obama as "Credible" Leader in Counterterrorism Fight
Next post: Redistricting Update: SF 182 Heads to Rules Committee

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.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting