Nine of the nation’s top ten most popular governors are Republicans, according to a new survey.
The Morning Consult Political Intelligence poll released on Tuesday revealed the findings based on samples of registered voters in each state collected between July 1 and September 30.
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker was rated the nation’s most popular governor with a 74% approval rating. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott ranked second at 73%, with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan third at 70%.
Among the top ten most popular governors, only Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was listed among Democrats. His ranking was 59% in the Bluegrass State, high enough for ninth in the annual rankings.
Other Republican governors in the top 10 included North Dakota’s Doug Burgum (4), Wyoming’s Mark Gordon (5), West Virginia’s Jim Justice (6), Alabama’s Kay Ivey (7), Idaho’s Brad Little (8), and New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu (10).
At the other end of the list, Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown took the undesirable spot of least popular, with just 40% approval among registered voters in her state. She ranked just below Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who polled 42%.
Overall, Americans still reportedly approve of their governors. Only eight of the 50 state leaders fell below a 50% approval rating.
A few surprises were also found among the rankings. Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who entered office under much controversy last year, stood at 55% approval in his first year in the rankings.
Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer improved her previous ranking by 11 percentage points following a weak showing during the COVID pandemic over her harsh lockdown policies. California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom stood at 55% just a year after emphatically defeating a recall election in his state.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis ranked 53% in the poll. Though lower than expected by some due to his rising national popularity during the pandemic, the number is 12 percentage points above last year as he faces a re-election battle against former Gov. Charles Crist.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott polled at just 51% in a re-election year against Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke. Abbott has faced various challenges in recent months, including a surging border crisis and controversies over May’s Uvalde school shooting at Robb Elementary School.
According to Morning Consult, those facing re-election contests in November tended to rank below the top 10, landing at an average of 55%.
“The governors facing competitive contests next month generally fall in line with the average gubernatorial rating of 55% over the past three months, but this isn’t enough to get them on the Republican-dominated list of the country’s most popular governors,” its research observed.
The poll’s release comes less than a month ahead of the nation’s elections in which many governors will face key battles. Twenty-eight of the nation’s 50 governors are Republican, a number the party hopes to add to in November. Democrats continue to push for key upsets to help change the balance of power while facing strategic challenges to maintain control in the House and Senate.