The quarterly gubernatorial approval ratings are out from national polling operation Morning Consult, and according to them Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards has a plus-29 approval rating. Some 56 percent of those polled give Edwards a thumbs-up, while 27 percent voice disapproval.
According to Morning Consult, the top 10 governors by approval rating for the fourth quarter of 2017, the time period the current numbers cover, are all Republicans. Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker, with a 69 percent approval rating, tops the list, followed by Maryland’s Larry Hogan (66 percent), Alabama’s Kay Ivey (64), Vermont’s Phil Scott (63), Wyoming’s Matt Mead (63), Nevada’s Brian Sandoval (61), Utah’s Gary Herbert (60), Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson (59), Texas’ Greg Abbott (59) and South Dakota’s Dennis Daugaard (59). Florida’s Rick Scott came in just outside the Top 10 at 58 percent approval.
In fact, Edwards scored the highest approval rating of any Democrat governor in the country. Delaware’s John Carney and New York’s Andrew Cuomo both came in at 55 percent, just below Edwards.
Edwards has more reason to be happy about Morning Consult’s numbers. In the third quarter approval ratings he checked in at 53 percent, with 31 percent disapproval. The poll represents a three-point gain for the governor in the fourth quarter of 2017.
It’s likely the positive numbers will come down at some point. No Louisiana governor has left office with positive approval numbers since Edwin Edwards in 1979, and since that Edwards in 1975 no Democrat governor has won re-election; not Edwin Edwards in 1987, not Buddy Roemer (who switched to Republican shortly before announcing he’d run again but had been elected and governed as a Democrat for virtually all of his term in office) in 1991 and not Kathleen Blanco, who didn’t even run for re-election in 2007. Edwards’ predecessor Bobby Jindal had approval ratings in the 70’s at one point in office and finished in the 20’s. Louisiana’s voters tend to be a very supportive lot…until they aren’t, and once they (inevitably) turn on a governor the fall tends to be precipitous.
The coming budget battle, in which Edwards’ insistence on tax increases to pay for the largest government in state history will be the focus of Louisiana politics, could well be a test of his enviable approval numbers. It’s hard to imagine Louisiana’s voters, for whom higher taxes poll about as well as the Ebola virus, will respond positively to his side of the debate.
But for now, expect to see Edwards crowing about the Morning Consult numbers. So far he’s avoided the fall his critics have predicted.