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Archive for the ‘Approval Ratings’ Category

The Quinnipiac University Poll has recently found that while Republican governors have been experiencing big gender gaps in their job approval ratings, Democratic governors and President Obama are seeing relatively small gender gaps. Why?

Public opinion polls have long shown that men are more likely than women to approve of the job Republican office holders are doing and conversely women are more likely than men to like the job Democrats do in office. Typically, the gap between the percentage of men and women approving of an elected official is relatively small (in single digits), and can usually be explained away by differences in party identification. Women are much more likely than men to consider themselves Democrats. For example, in Quinnipiac’s July national poll, 41 percent of women considered themselves Democrats compared to only 28 percent of men. Consequently, women are more supportive than men of Democratic officeholders.

While President Obama has a 7 point gender gap, with 50 percent of women approving of his job performance compared to 43 percent of men, this gap almost vanishes when we factor in party identification. For example, there is almost no difference between Democratic women and Democratic men – they both universally approve of the President. Similarly, there isn’t much of a difference between Republican men and Republican women – almost all of them disapprove of the President. There was a small, statistically insignificant difference in President Obama’s approval rating among Independent men and Independent women.

Like President Obama, the two Democratic governors that Quinnipiac regularly polls on – New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy also have small gender gaps. Malloy’s job approval gender gap is just 2 points, with 37 percent of men approving and 39 percent of women approving. Cuomo’s gender gap is also small; it’s just 5 points and actually goes in the opposite direction than what we would expect given historical patterns. Women are slightly less supportive of Cuomo, although both men (67 percent) and women (62 percent) overwhelmingly approve of the job he is doing.

Unlike the Democratic officeholders, all of the Republican governors have double digit gender gaps that can’t be explained simply by differences in party identification. The gender gap for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is 18 points (48 percent of men approve vs. 30 percent of women); for New Jersey governor Chris Christie it is 17 points (53 percent of men approve vs. 36 percent of women); for Florida governor Rick Scott it is 11 points (35 percent of men approve vs. 24 percent of women); for Ohio governor John Kasich the gender gap is 11 points (44 percent of men approve vs. 33 percent of women); and for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell it is 11 points (61 percent of men approve vs. 50 percent of women).

One thing that all these Republicans have in common is their approach to budget deficits. They all have relied on spending cuts, rather than tax increases. Just as there is a big gender gap for their overall job approval ratings, there is also a big gender gap for the way they’ve handled their budgets. Women are much less likely than men to approve of the way these governors are handling their state’s budgets.

These Republican governors have either tepid or low overall job approval ratings, except for Governor McDonnell who is at 55 percent. They need to do better among women to lift their overall scores.

All of these governors have plenty of time to improve their standing among women. They aren’t up for reelection until 2013 or 2014. However, one might wonder whether there will be any spillover effect in the 2012 elections. Will women, upset over the budget cuts proposed by Republican governors, show up in unusually large numbers or vote in unusually large numbers for Democrats? Democrats are certainly hoping that will be the case.

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Just a few years ago, a majority of New Yorkers liked Mayor Michael Bloomberg so much that they thought he would make a good President.  Now, not so much. Only 18 percent think the Mayor would be a good President, according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll.  Adding insult to injury only 38 percent believe the Mayor when he says he is not interested in running for President.

Mayor Bloomberg’s job approval rating from 2006 thru 2008 was almost always above 70%, which fueled the “Bloomberg for President” talk. In 2009 it dropped a bit to the mid 60’s.  After Bloomberg won reelection to a third term, the Mayor’s job approval number continued to erode and by November, 2010, it was at 55 percent.  In our first survey of 2011, the Bloomberg’s approval rating plunged to only 39 percent, the lowest he’s been since 2003.

So what happened?  What caused the Mayor to lose favor with the voters?

All politicians have seen their ratings drop because of tough economy and the ensuing tough budget decisions that they’ve had to make. Raising taxes or cutting services always make voters unhappy.

Bloomberg is now in his third term and many voters may simply tire of elected officials when there is a sense that they’ve been around too long. Voters may be suffering from “Bloomberg fatigue”.  Lest we forget, the Mayor was supposed to be term limited and unable to run for a third term.  That is until he successfully changed the popular term limit law so that he could run for a third term.

It certainly didn’t help that his Administration mishandled the 2010 Christmas blizzard.  When politicians handle snowstorms well it typically doesn’t help them politically, but when they don’t it sure can hurt them.

It doesn’t appear that New Yorkers have forgiven him for his handling of the Christmas blizzard. Even when looking at the Bloomberg administration’s overall handling of all of this winter’s snowstorms, only 28 percent thought they did a “good” or “excellent” job.

And last but not least, Mayor Bloomberg made the highly unpopular choice of Cathleen Black to be the new Schools Chancellor in November. The Mayor was heavily criticized for selecting somebody without education experience, but he didn’t back down.

In the current survey, only 17 percent approve of the way the new Schools Chancellor is handling her job.  While Black’s predecessor, Joel Klein, never enjoyed great job approval numbers, they never dropped below 30 percent.

The public’s displeasure with the Black selection also was made clear in Bloomberg’s rating for his handling of the public schools.  Before the pick, he had received good marks – a 57% approval.  After the Black selection, Bloomberg dropped 16 points to a 41 percent approval in November 2010. In the current survey, Bloomberg’s approval rating for his handling of the public schools has plummeted to an all time low 25 percent.

The irony is that the Mayor wanted to be remembered as the “education Mayor,” like Giuliani is remembered as the “crime mayor.”  That was going to be his legacy.  Yet the schools may be the issue which has cost him the most politically. 

Perhaps it also will be responsible for ending the “Bloomberg for President” talk.

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