Governors are the most powerful elected officials in state governments, effectively serving as the chief executive. Unlike CEOs in the private sector, however, governors face re-election every few years — and for those who want to keep their job, popularity is of chief importance.
Though all 50 state governors are popularly elected, public opinion continues to evolve long after campaign season ends and the polls close on election day. Right or wrong, public opinion is influenced by any number of factors, from the germane to the trivial.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed public opinion data from research company Morning Consult to identify America’s most popular governors. Approval ratings are based on survey data collected during the third quarter of 2018 and range from 17% to 70%.
Because this survey was conducted in 2018 and more than a dozen states are swearing in new governors in January 2019, not all governors on this list are still in office. While some were forced to step down by state-imposed term limits, others — like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Bruce Rauner in Illinois — were voted out of office.
Of the 50 governors on this list, 33 are Republicans. All 10 of the most popular governors are Republican — as are seven of the 10 least popular.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly stated that the Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam could run for office again in 2021. In fact, Virginia does not allow governors to serve for two consecutive terms. This error has been corrected.