Poll: America's 10 Most Popular Governors Are All Republicans

Gov. Charlie Baker / @MassGovernor Twitter
July 25, 2018

The 10 most popular governors from across the United States are all members of the Republican Party, according to a newly released survey.

On Wednesday, Morning Consult released its quarterly rankings of the overall approval rating of the nation's 50 governors. The survey, which asked registered voters in every jurisdiction to evaluate the job performance of their state's chief executive from April through June of this year, found that for the sixth quarter in a row Republicans dominated the top rankings.

GOP popularity transcended geographic and ideological boundaries with the governors scoring impressive numbers not only in conservative states throughout the deep South and the Plains but liberal states found on the coasts and the West. In particular, Republican governors from states Hillary Clinton carried handily in 2016 ranked in the top 10.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R.), who has consistently topped the list as the nation's most popular governor, remained in first place this quarter. The governor garnered an approval rating of 69 percent amongst Bay State residents, only 2 points down from his first quarter showing. Baker is heavily favored to secure re-election this year, especially as his race has failed to draw top contenders and national Democrats have been wary to invest.

The Massachusetts Republican is not the only governor on the ballot this year likely to be bolstered by the poll's findings.

Republican governors like Larry Hogan (Md.), Chris Sununu (N.H.), Kay Ivey (Ala.), Asa Hutchinson (Ark.), and Greg Abbot (Texas), each of whom is vying for re-election, ranked high on the list.

The survey, however, did not pose good news for every incumbent.

Vermont's first-term incumbent Gov. Phil Scott (R.), who faces voters at the ballot this year, witnessed the biggest quarterly shift in approval since Morning Consult commenced its survey in May 2016. The governor's statewide approval rating plummeted 18 points, dropping from 65 to 47 percent. Compounding Scott's problems is the fact his disapproval rating, which was at 21 percent in the first quarter, doubled to 42 percent.

The drop in approval was large enough to displace Scott from his spot as the nation's fourth most popular governor in the first quarter to 29th overall in the second.

Scott's sinking approval ratings are at least partially the result of the governor's faltering support from Republicans and independents after he signed a sweeping gun control measure in April. The legislation bans the sale of firearms to individuals under the age of 21, prohibits the sale and possession of bump-fire stocks, limits magazine capacity for handguns and rifles, and prevents private firearm sales. Scott signed the measure despite having pledged not to do so during the 2016 campaign.

Republicans also accounted for a little over half of the most unpopular governors on the list, with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin overtaking Connecticut's Dan Malloy (D.) as the most unpopular governor in the nation. Fallin, who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election this year, had a disapproval rating of 74 percent and an approval rating of only 19 percent.

Outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado was the highest-ranking Democrat on the list, coming in at the 16th spot with an approval rating of 53 percent.