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.

1 Comment

  1. Being Goode on March 6, 2009 at 6:44 am

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