Survey USA released its latest batch of poll results on governors' approval ratings. Not a whole lot of surprises here. One thing that does stick out is the contrast among governors whose states have been hit with disasters.
In the aftermath of Katrina, much was made of the contrast between Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R). We even took a look at the comparison in our annual State of the States publication. Generally, the national media panned Blanco and praised Barbour. More than four months later, Barbour has a 48 percent approval rating and Blanco's at 32 percent. That gives Blanco the fourth-lowest poll numbers in the country, while Barbour's sitting in the middle of the pack (31st highest, or 20th lowest).
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), though, emerged as a popular leader in the wake of the Sago mine disaster and other coal mine tragedies there. With an 80 percent approval rating, he's the second most popular governor in the country (behind Connecticut's Jodi Rell (R)).
Interestingly, when Survey USA pulled together data from all the states, it found that 47 percent of Americans approve of their governor and 47 percent disapprove.
By comparison, 59 percent of Americans want to keep their own member of Congress, according to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, which, like Stateline.org, is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Governors with the highest approval ratings are:
1. Jodi Rell, R-Conn., 81 percent
2. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., 80 percent
3. John Hoeven, R-N.D., 76 percent
4. Jon Huntsman, R-Utah, 75 percent
5. Brad Henry, D-Okla., 74 percent
Governors with the lowest popularity are:
1. Bob Taft, R-Ohio, 14 percent
2. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, 26 percent
3. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., 32 percent
4. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, D-La., 32 percent
5. Matt Blunt, R-Mo., 33 percent