Poll: Raimondo is nation’s most unpopular governor

Politics
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The latest Morning Consult rankings of the nation’s governors is out, and Southeastern New England is home to the most and least popular governors in the country.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo placed dead last in the new rankings, with a job approval rating of just 36% and a disapproval rating of 56%. It marks her worst showing ever in the website’s quarterly polling, though only a small weakening compared with three months ago.

Raimondo’s net approval rating is minus 20 points, below Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin (minus 19), Oregon Democrat Kate Brown (minus 12) and Hawaii Democrat David Ige (minus 14).

The Democratic governor was re-elected to a second term less than a year ago, receiving 52% of the vote over Republican Allan Fung last November. Her spokesperson, Josh Block, dismissed the importance of the poll.

“Today we saw another month of jobs data with over half a million jobs in our state and unemployment at a 30-year low,” he said. “We’ve provided thousands of students with access to high-quality Pre-K and tuition-free college. And we’ve helped trained over 6,200 Rhode Islanders for high-wage jobs in today’s economy. These are the numbers the governor cares about.”

In Massachusetts, by contrast, voters are overwhelmingly pleased with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

Baker’s approval rating is 73% and his disapproval rating is only 16% in the new Morning Consult rankings. That makes him the nation’s most popular governor, a title he’s held for most of his nearly five years in office.

Unlike Raimondo, who is barred by term limits from running again, Baker is eligible to seek a third term in 2022 if he chooses to enter the race. He has not yet announced whether he will do so.

A Morning Consult spokesperson said the company surveyed 2,094 voters in Rhode Island and 10,731 in Massachusetts between July 1 and Sept. 30. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points for Rhode Island, and plus or minus 1 for Massachusetts.

The website’s methodology has come under criticism because it conducts its polling online and over multiple months, rather than taking a snapshot over just a few days as traditional surveys do.

“Polls are supposed to be snapshots in time. (It’s why we write about them in the past tense),” Jennifer Duffy of the Washington-based Cook Political Report said in an email.

“This poll includes interviews conducted over a three-month period and there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason as to how many were conducted over any given time,” she said. “This raises questions about what outside factors like news events might influence the results.”

“I’ve compared the job approval ratings in the Morning Consult poll to those in polls conducted by pollsters for both parties and they are quite often very different,” Duffy added.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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