U.S. state governors are the highest ranking — and highest profile — elected officials in state government. Governors set policy goals and advance them by setting budgets, implementing laws, and overseeing the multiple agencies and departments. As a result, they are accountable for both the successes and failures that occur on their watch.
As is true for every politician voted into office across all levels of government, popularity is important for governors — both for political clout and, for those who are not up against term limits, job security.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed public opinion data from research company Morning Consult to rank America’s 50 state governors by popularity. Governor approval ratings are based on survey data collected during the third quarter of 2019 and range from 34% to 73%.
As there are many unique political opinions among voters, elected officials are rarely able to please everyone. There are policy areas that are less subjective, however — perhaps most notably, the economy.
Poor economic performance tends to hurt political popularity of elected officials, while strong economic performance appears to have the opposite effect. In eight of the 10 states with the least popular governors, the annual unemployment rate is higher than the 3.9% national average. Similarly, unemployment is line with or lower than the national rate in nine of the 10 states with the most popular governors. Here is a list of states where it is hardest to find full-time work.
There is no set salary for governors, and compensation for the job varies by state — from as little as $70,000 to more than $200,000. While there is no hard and fast rule, generally, states with larger populations have higher governor salaries. Here is a full list of the highest and lowest paid governors in the United States.