Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has endured a fair bit of sniping from both the left and the right in recent months and in the process has suffered the loss of some of his popularity. That said, a Public Policy Polling survey released this week on the end-of-year approval ratings of America’s governors still ranks Jindal as the most popular current governor in the country – or at least the most popular of the 30 governors whose approval PPP is tracking.
Jindal checks in at 58 percent approval with 34 percent disapproval, a number placing him second among governors surveyed by PPP. Tops in the poll is West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who with a 70-22 rating dwarfs the field. But Manchin won a special election in November and is now serving in the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Robert K. Byrd – so Jindal is ahead of the remaining governors.
Jindal’s +24 approval index is matched by Connecticut Republican Jodie Rell, whose numbers included a 55 percent approval to 31 percent disapproval margin. Montana Democrat Brian Schweitzer (55-33), Delaware Democrat Jark Markell (50-32) and Alaska Republican Sean Parnell (51-35) rounded out the top five.
The worst approval numbers in the PPP survey belong to California Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who at 25-63 (-38) is an unmitigated failure. The same might be said of Bill Richardson (D-NM), who posted a 27-64 number, Jim Gibbons (R-NV), whose lousy state economy has him at 25-61, Maine Democrat John Baldacci (29-58), on whose watch Republicans have taken control of the state house, New York Democrat David Paterson, whose scandal-ridden administration was panned by a 30-55 count, and the disastrous Michigan Democrat Jennifer Granholm (34-57). Illinois Democrat Pat Quinn managed re-election despite a 32-54 rating, but outgoing Democrats Jim Doyle (36-56) in Wisconsin and Ed Rendell (34-53) in Pennsylvania didn’t have such luck managing their party’s fortunes last month.
Other notable governors displayed mixed ratings. Florida Independent Charlie Crist leaves office with a 50-39 rating, Virgini Republican Bob McDonnell is doing well at 44-36, Hawaii Republican Linda Lingle is slightly ahead of her detractors 46-45, Texas Republican Rick Perry and Massachusetts Democrat Deval Patrick are even at 45-45 and Minnesota Republican Tim Pawlenty, who’s trying to make himself a darkhorse presidential candidate, is struggling with a 43-53 mark.
PPP is a Democrat polling outfit, so when it says the average poll ratings of the nation’s governors based on the 30 surveyed are 42-45 and there’s no appreciable difference between Republicans (44-45) and Democrats (41-46) it might be best to take such numbers with a grain of salt. After all, 20 governors weren’t polled, including some popular figures like Chris Christie, Haley Barbour, Jan Brewer and Sonny Perdue on the GOP side.
In any event, while Jindal is suffering some slippage in his poll numbers he’s still in considerably better shape than most other governors.
The poll gave good enough news for Louisiana GOP chairman Roger Villere to brag on Jindal’s successes…
“Governor Jindal’s successful efforts to reform Louisiana’s ethics laws, cut taxes, and promote economic opportunity for our people are paying dividends,” said Villere. “As Louisiana heads toward our elections next fall Governor Jindal is in a strong position to secure another term where he can continue to build a better Louisiana for our children.”