Analysis: Evers among least popular governors running

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — A lot of governors running for re-election this year are pretty popular. Tony Evers isn’t one of them.

The Wisconsin Democrat is among the least popular governors running, according to Morning Consult Political Intelligence quarterly trafficking.

“Among the 28 governors up for re-election this fall, just one — Democrat Tony Evers of Wisconsin — is viewed more negatively than positively by voters in his state: 45% of Wisconsin voters approve of his job performance, compared to 48% who disapprove,” states the analysis, published last week.

Evers fared better in last week’s Marquette University Law School Poll, in which 47 percent of registered voters surveyed had a favorable opinion of the first-term incumbent and 42 percent gave him an unfavorable rating.

Evers’ April poll numbers dropped below 50 percent after rebounding in March from an approval rating low of 45 percent (46% disapproval) late last year.

But the most recent Marquette poll found just 36 percent of respondents said the state was heading in the right direction, with 56 percent saying it was on the wrong path. The psyche of the Badger State has plummeted over Evers’ last two years in office — from a high of 61 percent in late March 2020.

Evers’ slumping numbers differ from most Democratic governors who face contests viewed as toss-ups by The Cook Political Report. The Morning Consult quarterly report shows Laura Kelly in Kansas with a 55 percent approval rating, and 51 percent for Steve Sisolak in Nevada. Michigan liberal Gretchen Whitmer tracked 50 percent over the period, although 46 percent disapproved.

Evers is a long way from his high water mark in March 2020, when 65 percent of respondents approved of handling of the job.

Democratic Gov. Dan McKee of Rhode Island has seen a substantial drop in his approval rating in recent months, from 60 percent in the third quarter of 2021 to 42 percent, according to Morning Consult. Over the same time period, the share who disapprove of his job performance increased from 25 percent to 40 percent, marking the biggest decline in sentiment about a governor facing voters this fall.

“Across the country, all but eight governors are backed by 50% or more of their state’s voters. And in nearly all cases, the Democrats among them are getting higher approval ratings than Biden, while more often than not drawing more cross-party support than the president and Democratic senators,” the report notes.

But GOP governors have a higher approval rating than the average Dem governor (58% to 51%), according to Morning Consult. Not one Democrat ranked among the top 10 most popular governors.

Evers’ trails only McKee, David Ige, and Kate Brown of Oregon — all Democrats — on the least popular governor list. Brown checks in with a 54 percent disapproval rate (the highest)  with just 41 percent of survey respondents viewing her favorably.

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