“6 months in, most rookie governors are thriving,” is the headline of GOVERNING Magazine’s round-up of the country’s governors that ranks their job performances from “Thriving” to “Surviving” to “Struggling.”
“There’s a big crop of governors who were newly elected in November 2018. Now, about six months in to their first term, most of them have accomplished at least some of their signature achievements and have approval ratings that are respectable — or even better than that,” explains the article.
Guess where Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy, who’s been abandoned by many long-time Republican allies since his release of $444 million in vetoes and unilateral liquidation of many popular program-specific savings accounts, lands on the list.
“The good news for this crop of rookie governors is that there is only one governor in the “struggling” category: Republican Mike Dunleavy of Alaska,” writes author Louis Jacobson.
Down the bottom of the list, behind governors who did things like sign controversial and divisive anti-abortion bills, squandered political capital on gun control measures and signed measures honoring the founder of the KKK, is Dunleavy.
“Even beyond the state’s record heat and expanding wildfires, Alaskan governance this year has been a head spinner,” writes Jacobson, running down the cuts to the university, looming dangers for K-12 funding and the fight over the PFD. “Matters became especially problematic when Dunleavy called a special session — not in the state capital of Juneau, but hundreds of miles away in Wasilla, a hub for conservative hardliners. Dunleavy’s allies met there, but legislative leaders, along with Democrats and moderate Republicans, refused. Ultimately, Dunleavy got his cuts, but his victory may come at too much cost.”
The report references a hit to the governor’s polling with a reference to the second-quarter polling done by Morning Consult of the country’s governors. That polling shows a slight improvements for Dunleavy’s approval rating since his first rating, going from 42 percent positive and 29 percent negative to 49 percent positive and 32 percent negative. The ranking puts Dunleavy at the 29th most popular governor in Alaska.
The Morning Consult doesn’t specific when its polling was done, but according to last year’s rankings the polling would have been conducted between April 1 and June 30. That likely helps Dunleavy out as it was likely done well before his vetoes hit the headlines.
The polling contrasts strongly with polling numbers provided to The Midnight Sun. Those numbers reflect polling that was conducted immediately before and after the release of the governor’s vetoes. They showed his approval rating fell by 10 points from 41 percent to 31 percent after the vetoes were released.