It’s a mystery why Michigan Democrats appear so worried that Gov. Rick Snyder’s new TV ads on behalf of state House Republicans might be doing a lot of damage to Dems’ prospects in this year’s general election.
Snyder’s ad campaign ties together kudos for his own performance as the state’s CEO with the candidacies of GOP candidates for the state House, some incumbents and some not. Democrats counter that the ads are subsidized by “dark money,” unaccountable to the news media and general public. Besides, they say, Snyder’s economic record is nowhere near as great as he claims, and he and his administration single-handedly caused the “Flint water crisis.”
In fact, the most recent survey of the popularity of the 50 U.S. governors shows that, thanks to the relentless acrimony heaped on Snyder by his Democratic opposition, Snyder is the fourth most UNpopular governor in America.
So how can pro-Snyder TV ads possibly help Republican candidates running for the state House, where the GOP now holds a 16-seat majority that could evaporate on Nov. 8? More likely, any publicity tying Republican candidates to Snyder will only hurt them.
Morning Consult’s most recent survey of the nation’s governor’s shows that only 33% of Michigan’s registered voters approve of Snyder’s job performance, while 61% disapprove. That’s worse than all but three of the 50 state CEOs — Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Dan Malloy (D-Conn.), and Chris Christie (R-NJ).
Morning Consult surveyed 71,900 registered voters in all 50 states from early May of this year through early this month. Survey respondents were asked whether they approved or disapproved of their governors’ job performance.
Eight of the 10 least popular governors are Republicans, including two from the Midwest — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who got the fifth-worst rating in the poll, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who ranked 10th worst.
On the other hand, eight of the top 10 MOST popular governors are Republicans as well, including the top three — Dennis Daungaard of South Dakota (74% approval rating), Larry Hogan of Maryland (70%), and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (also 70%). Hogan and Baker were elected in 2014 in heavily Democratic states.
How about Republican Gov. John Kasich in the neighboring state of Ohio? He’s in the middle of the pack, but with positive numbers. He’s 23rd in popularity, with 57% approving of his job performance, 33% disapproving — the same as California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown.
Historically speaking, Snyder may get major credit for taking on Detroit’s bankrupt city government, for the “Grand Bargain” that saved the Detroit Institute of Arts, for championing the building of the Gordie Howe International bridge, and for balancing the state’s books, but he’s still operating under a cloud that he allowed to form because he failed to address the Flint mess early on, and with sufficient urgency.
Whether Snyder’s numbers can improve between now and 2018, when his term ends, depends on the Nov. 8 election results and whether he develops the political acumen in the next two years that he failed to demonstrate in his first six.