Whitmer’s Approval Ticks Up in Michigan Ahead of Midterms as Most Governors Continue to Earn Positive Reviews
Ahead of next month’s elections, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) has seen a modest improvement in how Michiganders rate her job performance, placing her among the most popular governors facing competitive re-election contests this year, according to Morning Consult Political Intelligence.
Most Governors on November Ballot Are Popular
Approval ratings of governors on the ballot in 2022
- The majority of Michigan voters (54%) approved of Whitmer’s job performance in surveys conducted July 1-Sept. 30, up from 50% in the second quarter of the year, while 43% disapproved.
- Govs. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.), Janet Mills (D-Maine), Laura Kelly (D-Kan.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) received similarly high ratings from voters in their states, though Kelly has seen negative sentiment tick up amid an onslaught of negative ads from Republicans hoping to flip the seat.
- Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wis.) is the least popular governor facing a tough race next month, though his approval rating improved between the second and third quarters of the year, from 46% to 49%.
Democratic governors continue to outperform Biden
The numbers are consistent with Morning Consult surveys conducted since Joe Biden took office: Despite the president’s diminished standing, voters generally like their governors — even if they’re Democrats.
However, approval ratings are not the same as ballot tests, and relatively popular governors can still lose races. While other polling conducted in Georgia, Florida, Maine, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin shows little gap between a governor’s approval rating and their standing against rivals, the contests look much closer in Kansas and Nevada than their governors’ job performance ratings would suggest.
The governors facing competitive contests next month generally fall in line with the average gubernatorial rating of 55% over the past three months, but this isn’t enough to get them on the Republican-dominated list of the country’s most popular governors.
Surveys conducted July 1-Sept. 30, 2022, among representative samples of registered voters in each state, with unweighted margins of error of up to +/-5 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
America’s most popular and unpopular governors
- With a 74% approval rating, Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) is America’s most popular governor, followed by Phil Scott (R-Vt.), who gets high marks from 73% of Vermonters, and Larry Hogan (R-Md.), who has a 70% approval rating.
- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat who’s expected to face a challenging re-election fight next fall, has a 59% approval rating, up from 55% last quarter. Over the same time period, his disapproval rating fell from 39% to 35%, driven largely by increasingly positive reviews from Kentucky’s Republican voters.
- Govs. Kate Brown (D-Ore.) and Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.), whose terms expire in early 2023, are America’s most unpopular governors, with respective 56% and 49% disapproval ratings. Each state features a competitive, open-seat race that could see a new party take control of its governor’s residence.
For Morning Consult’s state-level survey data, weights are applied to each state separately based on age, gender, education, race, home ownership, marital status, presidential voting history and — for a subset of states — race by education as well as an age-by-gender interaction.
Margins of error for responses from all voters in each state range from 1 to 5 points. For more detailed information, you can download the 50-state data set for gubernatorial approval ratings among all voters here.
Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Prior to his current role, Eli was Morning Consult’s senior reporter covering U.S. politics. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].