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Most and least popular governors in America

  • Most and least popular governors in America

    Although the United States has gone through a dramatic period of political polarization, one truth remains: Americans love their Republican governors. The top ten most beloved governors in the United States right now are all Republicans—several of whom serve majority-blue states. Just look at Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who has led the largely Democratic state of Massachusetts since taking office in 2015. A strong state economy, low unemployment, and a fairly moderate agenda have helped Baker's approval rating exceed 70%.

    The latest data on governors' popularity ratings come from Morning Consult's Governor Approval Rankings. These numbers are the result of 472,802 surveys with registered U.S. voters from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2019.  Morning Consult obtained population parameters for registered voters from the November 2012 Current Population Survey and applied post-stratification weights based on gender, age, educational attainment, and race.

    In each poll, Americans indicated whether they approved or disapproved of the job performance of their governors. Those surveyed could also answer that they don't know or have an opinion on their leaders. All 50 U.S. governors are ranked here from lowest to highest approval, with ties broken by net approval (approval minus disapproval). However, some ties still remain, as a few governors are equal in both approval and net approval ratings.

    A number of the governors serving their respective states broke historic boundaries to attain their positions. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and Kristi Noem of South Dakota were the first female governors elected in their respective states, while Oregon's Kate Brown is the first openly LGBTQ+ governor in any state.

    Washington's Jay Inslee and Montana's Steve Bullock both have aspirations of reaching higher office in 2020; both are seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

    Read on to learn about the most and least popular governors in the country.

    You may also like: States receiving the most federal funds

  • #50. Matt Bevin (Kentucky)

    - Party: Republican
    - Approval rating: 33%
    - Disapproval rating: 52%
    - Never heard of them: 16%

    Gov. Matt Bevin is seeking re-election in November amidst a hailstorm of bad press, including fighting teachers' pensions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and blocking constituents from his social media accounts. Firing two of Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton's staffers didn't help. Bevin replaced Hampton with a new running mate and said he anticipates a visit from President Donal Trump and Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

  • #49. Ned Lamont (Connecticut)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 33%
    - Disapproval rating: 38%
    - Never heard of them: 29%

    Since Ned Lamont won the November 2018 race, even he admits there is a disconnect over toll revenue and taxes between Lamont and his fellow Democratic legislators in the General Assembly. Since taking office in January, Lamont has signed several bills, including legislation barring transgender and gay “panic” defenses in criminal cases.

  • #48. Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 40%
    - Disapproval rating: 50%
    - Never heard of them: 10%

    Venture capitalist and Gov. Gina Raimondo is Rhode Island's first woman governor. She is a practicing Catholic, and has joined many Democratic lawmakers across the country in protecting abortion rights: she codified Roe v. Wade into Rhode Island law. She hasn't seen majority approval ratings from her constituents for two straight years, according to Morning Consult.

  • #47. Ralph Northam (Virginia)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 40%
    - Disapproval rating: 36%
    - Never heard of them: 24%

    Google Gov. Ralph Northam's name, and you get the word “blackface” in the first page of results. CNN published pictures from Northam's medical school yearbook which portray the governor either in dressed in blackface or in a KKK costume. Northam claims these pictures were from a different time in his life, but the notoriety of his past pushes his popularity rankings down.

  • #46. J.B. Pritzker (Illinois)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 40%
    - Disapproval rating: 29%
    - Never heard of them: 31%

    Since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire businessman, beat then-Gov. Bruce Rauner in the 2018 general election, he has not grown more popular. The passage of his $40 billion budget and $45 billion capital plan signals the 19th year straight of an unbalanced Illinois government, which is expected to lead to additional debt, spending cuts, or higher taxes. Pritzker did approve a $1,600 cost-of-living raise for state workers, a move many saw as a means to secure his base.

  • #45. Kate Brown (Oregon)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 41%
    - Disapproval rating: 44%
    - Never heard of them: 15%

    Gov. Kate Brown recently used her power to send state police to fine 12 GOP lawmakers who left the capitol before voting on a carbon emissions climate change bill. The Pacific Northwest leader once served in the Oregon Senate and House, and served as Oregon's secretary of state from 2009 until 2015. Brown is the first openly LGBTQ+ governor in the U.S.

  • #44. Michelle Lujan Grisham (New Mexico)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 41%
    - Disapproval rating: 33%
    - Never heard of them: 27%

    Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is a former New Mexico House representative and the 32nd governor of New Mexico. In June 2019, she became the first governor to seek monetary recompense for states sheltering foreign-born migrants by filing suit against the Trump administration on behalf of her state in an effort to have asylum-seeking migrants released and humanitarian efforts reimbursed.

  • #43. Gavin Newsom (California)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 41%
    - Disapproval rating: 29%
    - Never heard of them: 30%

    Since taking office in January, Gov. Gavin Newsom has referred to California as the “envy of the world." Newsom, who served as San Francisco's mayor from 2004 to 2011, was also California's lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2019, and has been an undeniable Democratic Party force in California for 15 years.

  • #42. Mike Dunleavy (Alaska)

    - Party: Republican
    - Approval rating: 42%
    - Disapproval rating: 29%
    - Never heard of them: 29%

    Former state senator Mike Dunleavy, who won the governorship in 2018, is moving a special legislative session outside of the capitol building in Juneau to Wasilla, in order to give lawmakers a fresh set of eyes on an old issue. The issue up for debate is how much to provide residents from the state's oil wealth, a decision lawmakers have struggled to make for five months.

  • #41. Steve Sisolak (Nevada)

    - Party: Democrat
    - Approval rating: 43%
    - Disapproval rating: 24%
    - Never heard of them: 34%

    Gov. Steve Sisolak is Nevada's first Democratic leader in 20 years. Reflecting on his first 100 days in Office, he said education funding is still the state's biggest concern. Sisolak has been open in his distaste for a popular voting system, unlike other local leaders who support such a system over the electoral college.

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