Walker’s approval rating continues to slide since the PFD veto, reaching new low in latest poll

Gov. Bill Walker prepares for the 2017 State of the State Address. (Photo by Office of the Governor)

Alaska Independent Gov. Bill Walker’s approval rating has dropped to 40 percent in the latest polling conducted by the Morning Consult, a new low in the polling conducted by the site.

Walker’s disapproval rating is at 47 percent according to the survey, making him one of the least popular governors in the country. The online survey was conducted between July 1 and Sept. 30 and has a reported 5 percent margin of error.

Walker ranks as Morning Consult’s 10th least popular governor in the country, which is better than his 5th and 8th place finishes in the Morning Consult’s rankings earlier this year (though that’s more a function of other governors’ growing disapproval ratings than changes to Walker’s relatively stable polling this year).

The surveys conducted by Morning Consult early in Walker’s administration were better for the independent, who ranked in the top ten most popular governors in the early 2016 rankings with a 62 percent approval rating (and a 21 percent disapproval rating).

Then, of course, came Walker’s veto of half of the permanent fund dividend.

His ratings for a period that ran between July and September 2016—when the smaller dividend was just in the headlines and not in bank accounts—slumped to 50 percent, one of the biggest drops from poll to poll. His disapproval rating during that span nearly doubled from that 21 percent to 41 percent.

His worst ranking came during the first polling period after dividend checks were deposited. According to the survey conducted between January and March 2017 (it appears Morning Consult skipped late 2016), Walker was the 5th most unpopular governor with a disapproval rating of 53 percent. During that span his approval rating was 43 percent.

Walker’s disapproval rating has been slightly improving since then and the latest shows a 6 point improvement from the high of 54 percent, while his disapproval rating has continued to slide. His disapproval rating appears to be linked to how engaged voters are, and has improved as the number of undecided voters has increased.

Methodology

The online survey was conducted between July 1 and Sept. 30 and has a reported 5 percent margin of error. The site didn’t report its survey size for Alaska, though it says it surveyed 255,000 registered voters nationwide. It also doesn’t appear the Morning Consult conducted a governor survey for late 2016, nor could we find one for early 2016.

Republicans in blue states continue to be popular

Nationally, the poll found Republican governors in liberal states continued to be popular. Republican governors Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland top out Morning Consult’s list with 69 and 66 percent approval ratings respectively.

The only Democrats in the top 20 are governors Steve Bullock of Montana (57 percent), Andrew Cuomo of New York (55 percent) and John Hickenlooper of Colorado (54 percent).

The least popular governor by far is New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie with a 77 percent disapproval rating.

Morning Consult also found the average national approval rate for governors slid throughout the year from 54 percent in the first quarter to 49 percent in the third quarter.

Senate outlook

Morning Consult also released its list of most and least popular senators on Tuesday, where Alaska’s Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan both had an approval rating of 49 percent. Murkowski’s disapproval rate was slightly higher at 38 percent to Sullivan’s 32 percent. The margin of error on this polling is also 5 percent.

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