PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democratic Gov. Dan McKee is getting a mixed verdict from Rhode Island voters after his first year in office, according to a new poll.
The survey of 1,840 Rhode Island registered voters by the website Morning Consult found 42% of voters approved of the job McKee was doing this winter, while 40% disapproved.
The governor’s numbers in the quarterly Morning Consult poll have fallen considerably since last spring, just after he succeeded Gina Raimondo, when 59% of voters approved of his job performance and only 18% disapproved. His approval rating was still 60% as recently as last fall.
Eli Yokley, who wrote up the poll findings for Morning Consult, described the decrease in McKee’s job approval as “a substantial drop” since late last year, adding: “Over the same time period, the share who disapprove of his job performance increased from 25% to 40%, marking the biggest decline in sentiment about a governor facing voters this fall.”
The Rhode Island results were gathered through online national polling of U.S. registered voters conducted by Morning Consult from Jan. 1 to March 31, an unusually long time period for a survey. The margin of error for Rhode Island was plus or minus 2 percentage points.
McKee’s approval rating is the third-lowest among the nation’s governors, behind only fellow Democrats Kate Brown of Oregon and David Ige of Hawaii, both of whom were at 41%, according to Morning Consult. Only eight governors nationwide are currently polling below 50%, the firm said.
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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, had a 74% approval rating in the Morning Consult poll, making him once again the nation’s most popular governor. (The top 11 governors in the nation are all Republicans.) Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, had a 57% approval rating.
McKee is seeking a full-term in this year’s election. He has drawn four challengers in the Democratic primary: Nellie Gorbea, Helena Foulkes, Matt Brown and Luis Daniel Muñoz. Republican Ashley Kalus is also running for governor.
Morning Consult’s polling found less change in the job approval ratings of Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats. Jack Reed’s approval rating was 54% over the winter, down from 58% last spring. Sheldon Whitehouse’s approval rating was 48%, down from 51%.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook