Republican Governor Popularity Plummets
Less than a year after a cadre of Republican firebrands swept into statehouses from Ohio to Florida to Wisconsin, voters are turning on them. John Avlon on what this means for 2012.
The Daily Beast: Republican Governor Popularity Plummets
Florida: On Tuesday, Alvin Brown became the first Democrat elected mayor of Jacksonville—Florida's largest city—in 20 years. Just seven months ago, Republicans swept the Sunshine State with Tea Party-backed candidate Rick Scott winning the governor's office with a 1.2 percent margin of victory.
Now Rick Scott finds himself the least popular newly elected governor in Florida history. It's not just a matter of the honeymoon being over—this looks like a drunken Vegas marriage heading for a shotgun divorce.
Fifty-five percent of Florida voters disapprove of Scott's job in office, while only 32 percent approve, according to a mid-April PPP poll. The Suffolk University poll found that 41 percent of respondents said the new gov's first months in office had been "negative and damaging" while only 26 percent described it as "positive and productive."
Ohio: Governor John Kasich is struggling as well, after narrowly defeating Democrat incumbent Ted Strickland last fall. A new Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday found Kasich's approval numbers decidedly upside down, with 49 percent of voters disapproving and 38 percent approving of his efforts in office to date. This was a nominal improvement over the previous month, when he had a 46-30 split.
Maine: Tea Party-backed Republican Paul LePage beat Independent candidate Eliot Cutler by less than 7,500 votes last fall. His stormy tenure has been marked by skirmishes over removing labor-history murals, initially refusing to attend MLK day celebrations and refusing to sign legislation to ban the chemical BPA because—in his words—"the worst case is some women may have little beards." A recent poll found that only three out of 10 Maine residents approved of LePage's job in office.
Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker's new effort to have same-sex couples' hospital visitation rights rescinded is unlikely to improve his approval ratings, especially among the 27 percent of independent voters in the state.