Special Report

America's Most Popular Governors

The midterm elections are less than six months out and control of the U.S. House and Senate hangs in the balance. While much of the focus in 2022 will center on the balance of power on Capitol Hill, this year could also be pivotal for state-level politics. 

A total of 36 states are holding gubernatorial elections this year, and in 28 of those states, sitting governors are running for reelection. Their success or failure rests entirely on voter sentiment, and based on recent polling, some governors appear much better positioned to win than others. 

Using public opinion data from research company Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most popular governors. States are ranked by the approval rating of their sitting governor. All approval ratings are based on data collected between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2022 among a representative sample of over 600 registered voters in each state. 

In keeping with low approval of the Biden Administration, Republican governors are generally more popular than their Democratic counterparts. All of the 10 most popular governors are Republican, while seven of the 10 least popular governors are Democratic. On average, Republican governors enjoy a 58% approval rating, compared to 51% among Democratic governors. (Here is a look at the final approval rating of every president since Harry Truman.)

According to a report by the independent, nonpartisan election research organization Cook Political Report, the closest races – those in which either party stands a good chance of winning – are in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Only two of those states – Arizona and Georgia – have a Republican governor.

At a time when many states are imposing voting restrictions and a leaked Supreme Court opinion suggests that abortion rights could soon be decided at the state level, the stakes of the 2022 gubernatorial elections could be higher than they have been in recent memory. Here is a look at the states where democracy is under siege

Click here to see America’s most popular governors

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