With future Hall of Famer Brett Favre signing a two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the Gopher State’s most popular sports franchise is now officially led by the former face of its most hated rival, the Green Bay Packers.

Because of the animosity (although, at times, perhaps begrudging respect) Minnesotans have held for Favre over the past one and a half decades, the new Vikings quarterback begins his tenure in purple and gold with one of the lowest favorability ratings relative to those of notable public figures who have entered political office during the past ten years.

A Rasmussen poll of Minnesotans conducted in mid-July found 46 percent of Gopher State residents had a favorable view of Favre, with 42 percent having an unfavorable opinion of him. The poll was conducted two months prior to the season opener at Cleveland (and one month prior to Favre’s official signing).

Smart Politics analyzed how Favre’s favorability rating two months out from his first game as a Viking compared to the favorability marks leading politicians received among Minnesotans two months prior to assuming office. As it turns out, Favre is much less popular than most of the Gopher State’s political officeholders.

· Joe Biden (63 percent) and Barack Obama (61 percent) received the highest marks when Gopher States residents were asked their opinion of the eventual President and Vice-President in late October of 2008 (in Big 10 Battleground and Rasmussen surveys, respectively).

· In November 2000, George W. Bush had a comparable 47 percent favorability rating two months before taking office, according to a Star Tribune poll.

· Tim Pawlenty had a 56 percent favorability mark back in November 2002 when he was elected to his first term as Governor, with only 26 percent holding an unfavorable view of him.

· Favre is also less popular than Norm Coleman (59 percent, November 2002), Amy Klobuchar (58 percent, November 2006), and Mark Dayton (55 percent, November 2000), two months before they took office in Washington, D.C.

· Only DFL Senator Al Franken, at 44 percent, had a lower favorability rating than Favre, and had more than a double-digit higher unfavorability mark at 55 percent, in a Rasmussen survey conducted in May 2009, two months prior to Franken being sworn into office.

Favorability Rating of Brett Favre vs. Political Figures At Two Months Out Before ‘Opening Day’

Public Figure
No opinion
Joe Biden
10/08 (a)
Barack Obama
10/08 (b)
Norm Coleman
11/02 (c)
Amy Klobuchar
11/06 (b)
Tim Pawlenty
11/02 (c)
Mark Dayton
11/00 (c)
George W. Bush
11/00 (c)
Brett Favre
7/09 (b)
Al Franken
5/09 (b)

(a) Big 10 Battleground. (b) Rasmussen. (c) Minnesota Poll (Star Tribune).

The one big difference for Favre, however, is that his favorability rating has the potential to substantially go up – especially if he delivers an 11 or 12-win season for the Vikes and a trip deep into the playoffs. If any job approval rating polls of Favre are ever conducted this season, expect them to be closely tied to the Vikings’ winning percentage.

While most politicians do not come into office with the kind of baggage Favre is carrying into Minneapolis this fall, favorability marks for political officeholders are frequently at their peak during this honeymoon period, and usually head south thereafter (e.g. President Bush’s favorability rating was at just 25 percent in Minnesota in October 2008 and Senator Coleman’s was 48 percent in December 2008).

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  1. Miss Mitten on August 19, 2009 at 12:18 am

    I shudder to think of the numbers you’d rattle off had you thrown in the Twins favorability percentages at the moment. ;o)

  2. Ehtisham on August 20, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I agree with ya 🙂

  3. Ann Cook on August 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I hope Favre steps it up this season and does well for his team.

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