Special Report

America's Least Popular Governors

As the 2022 midterm elections approach, many eyes are on the upcoming U.S. gubernatorial elections. Thirty-six states will elect their governor in November, including the 10 most populous states where more than half of the U.S. population resides. Twenty of these seats are held by Republicans and 16 by Democrats.

To identify the least popular governors, 24/7 Wall St. used public opinion data from research company Morning Consult. States are ranked by the share of respondents who disapproved of the job performance of their sitting governor, from lowest to highest. To break ties, governors with the smaller approval rating ranked as more disliked. All approval ratings are based on data Morning Consult collected between April 1 and June 30, 2022, among a representative sample of at least 431 registered voters in each state.

Seven incumbent governors cannot seek reelection due to term limits. Among them are Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. While Hogan is one of four governors, all of them Republicans, who enjoy an approval rating of 70% or higher, Brown, a Democrat, is the only governor with a disapproval rating higher than 50%. (Also see, America’s least popular senators.)

Pennsylvania voters will go to the polls to hire a new chief executive as Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, cannot seek reelection because of term limits. Wolf’s high disapproval rating has not bled onto Attorney General Josh Shapiro, his would-be successor, who is described by Politico as a “first-class fundraiser with a record of winning tough statewide races.” 

Dozens of Republican gubernatorial contenders were endorsed by former President Trump in the August Republican primaries. The list includes Kari Lake, who became Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate in a tight primary race that pitted the former news anchor against land-use consultant Karrin Taylor Robson, who was backed by the state’s Republican movers. Like outgoing Gov. Brown of Oregon, outgoing Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who cannot seek reelection due to term limits, has one of the highest disapproval ratings among the country’s 50 governors. (Enjoying name recognition, here are athletes who went on to become politicians.)

Here are America’s least popular governors.

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