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Governors Who Set Stricter Guidelines Seen More Favorably than Those Who Didn't

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Governors Who Set Stricter Guidelines Seen More Favorably than Those Who Didn't

2020-05-29 22:29:23

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Gavin Newsom (Image source: Public domain)

We've heard much in the past few months about all the impatient people who just couldn't wait for their states to open back up after being forced to shelter in place, some since mid-March. But it turns out they're in the minority, as most people approve of their governor's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Further, governors who rushed to reopen are receiving unfavorable marks from their constituents, while Donald Trump is less popular overall than the governors as a whole.

It's hard to remember a time when governors were seen and heard from every day for several months, especially all of them. That's what makes this time so interesting, as it's allowing us to look at many issues and people in completely different ways. Governors have either been issuing stay in place orders or refusing to do so and have been procuring hospital equipment and protective gear. They've played an integral role. 

Some are becoming well-known more widely than the states they govern. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been referred to as the "politician of the moment" and "the Trump whisperer."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has received praise for acting quickly while trying to stop the spread of the virus, at a time when Trump was still insisting it wasn't going to be a big deal.

Recent state-level polling shows most Americans, broken down by state, approve of the way their governor has handled the pandemic. Those polled — by Morning Consult, Monmouth University, and Quinnipiac — also look much more favorably on the job their governor is doing than that of Trump.  

Sure, some of the governors were more popular to begin with, but some are definitely more popular now than before the pandemic, so maybe they should enjoy it now, as it may not last.

There was a 21-percentage difference in approval of the governors' response to the pandemic versus that of Trump's. Before coronavirus was a known threat, governors were 9 percent more popular than the president.  

Some of the distance between approval ratings may be due to how popular the governors were beforehand, but there's still a newer 12-point gap that is unexplained.

There aren't many state-specific polls yet, and the polls that do exist don't cover all states. However, there are some striking things of note in the existing polls. 

The governor with the biggest jump in positive job rating during the pandemic is California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Prior to the pandemic, he had a 42% approval rating, and now it stands at 83%. He nearly doubled in popularity. Cuomo started out with more approval than him with 47%, and while he's certainly become the most notable governor, his pandemic approval rating is in second place with 79%.

DeWine is in third place, having started with 49% percent and now having 80%. This is followed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She started with a 42% approval rating, and it's now 88%, despite the trouble that Trump has given her, or maybe because of how she has defended herself and her state.  

Some of these governors are up for election, and this data could bode well for them. Of the governors that there is data for, Washington's Jay Inslee (D), North Carolina's Roy Cooper (D), and New Hampshire's Chris Sununu (R) are up for reelection. While Inslee was probably safe anyway as a Democrat in a Democratic state, that's not the case for Sununu and Cooper. They could be reelected based on their coronavirus response, judging by the jump in their approval ratings.

That brings us to the Republican governors of three states that reopened quickly. They all have low marks. Despite the number of people we saw frolicking on Florida beaches in spring break when Gov. Ron DeSantis was slow to shut down then quickly reopened, he earned the third-lowest pandemic response approval rating at 60%. 

The second-lowest was Texas Gov. Greg Abbott with 57%. In last place was Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. He was slow to shut down and one of the very first to reopen. His approval rating is way down at 39%.

Yet, overall, 71% of Americans approve of the job their governors are doing during the coronavirus, and that's across the board, no matter which side they line up on when they vote. 

However, Trump loses job approval rating points regularly. Currently, he's only at a 43% approval rating. Only Kemp has a worse rating.

In true Trump form, he's not giving an inch of the governors' success to them. 

Tuesday, he tweeted, "Remember this, every governor who has sky-high approval on their handling of the coronavirus, and I am happy for them all, could in no way have gotten those numbers, or had that success, without me and the federal government's help. From ventilators to testing, we made it happen!"

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