Special Report

The Most and Least Popular Governors in America

Drew Angerer / Getty Images News via Getty Images

The specific duties of elected officials vary considerably from one branch of government to the next and between the different levels of government. But one common responsibility shared by virtually all those in elected office is to balance the interests, values, and priorities of their constituents. This is no easy task, particularly for those in powerful, high-profile positions who represent hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans. 

Consider, for example, the U.S. president. Subject to the individual judgements of over 250 million voting-age Americans, most presidents in recent decades have had approval ratings below 50%. According to Gallup survey data, George H.W. Bush is the only president since the Kennedy assassination with an average approval rating above 60% – and even he was voted out of office after a single term. (Here is a look at the most – and least – effective presidents in U.S. history.)

Like the president, each of the 50 sitting U.S. governors has the role of a chief executive. And as the highest-ranking and highest-profile elected official in state government, governors are also subject to constant public scrutiny. And some appear to be doing a better job than others. 

Using survey data from Morning Consult, a public opinion research company, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s most and least popular governors. We ranked all 50 sitting state governors by their 2023 approval rating. Ties were broken by disapproval ratings, and in the case when governors shared the same approval and disapproval rating, the governor with the largest survey sample size ranked higher.

Currently, there are 26 Republican and 24 Democratic governors. Among them, approval ratings range from 42% to 78%. Of the 10 most popular sitting governors, seven are Republican – including Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, one of the most left-leaning states in the country. 

While there are notable exceptions, states with smaller populations often have more popular governors. Vermont and Wyoming, for example, are the only states home to fewer than 650,000 people – and the governors of those states have the highest approval ratings in the country. 

Two governors on this list, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Doug Burgum of North Dakota, are leveraging their platforms to run for the top spot on the Republican ticket in the 2024 presidential election. Both DeSantis and Burgum have a 56% approval rating. Several former governors are also among the growing field of Republican presidential hopefuls, including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Mike Pence of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina. (Here is a look at each president’s path to the Oval Office.) 

Click here to see the most and least popular governors in America.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

50. Gov. Tina Kotek (D) – Oregon
> Popularity: 42% approve; 39% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $98,600 (4th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.2% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 4,207,177 (24th smallest)

49. Gov. Jim Pillen (R) – Nebraska
> Popularity: 45% approve; 30% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $105,000 (6th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.3% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,951,480 (14th smallest)

48. Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) – Arizona
> Popularity: 47% approve; 36% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $95,000 (3rd lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.8% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 7,079,203 (14th largest)

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

47. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) – Mississippi
> Popularity: 48% approve; 42% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2020, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $122,160 (12th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 2,967,023 (17th smallest)

46. Gov. Joseph Lombardo (R) – Nevada
> Popularity: 49% approve; 25% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $163,474 (18th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 5.4% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 3,059,238 (19th smallest)

Source: Public Domain / White House / Wikimedia Commons

45. Gov. Dan McKee (D) – Rhode Island
> Popularity: 50% approve; 37% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2021, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $145,755 (24th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.2% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,091,949 (8th smallest)

Source: Handout / Getty Images News via Getty Images

44. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) – New Mexico
> Popularity: 51% approve; 43% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $110,000 (8th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.0% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 2,109,366 (15th smallest)

Source: Karen Ducey / Getty Images News via Getty Images

43. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) – Washington
> Popularity: 51% approve; 43% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2013, currently serving third term
> Annual salary: $187,353 (6th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.2% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 7,617,364 (13th largest)

42. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) – Oklahoma
> Popularity: 51% approve; 42% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $147,000 (25th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 3,948,136 (23rd smallest)

Source: Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images News via Getty Images

41. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) – Louisiana
> Popularity: 51% approve; 41% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2016, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $130,000 (16th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.7% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 4,657,305 (25th largest)

Source: Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images News via Getty Images

40. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) – New York
> Popularity: 51% approve; 41% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2021, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $250,000 (the highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.3% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 20,114,745 (4th largest)

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

39. Gov. Tony Evers (D) – Wisconsin
> Popularity: 52% approve; 43% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $152,756 (22nd highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.9% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 5,871,661 (20th largest)

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

38. Gov. JB Pritzker (D) – Illinois
> Popularity: 52% approve; 43% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $184,758 (8th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.6% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 12,821,813 (6th largest)

Source: Erich Schlegel / Getty Images News via Getty Images

37. Gov. Gregory Abbott (R) – Texas
> Popularity: 52% approve; 43% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2015, currently serving third term
> Annual salary: $153,750 (21st highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 28,862,581 (2nd largest)

36. Gov. Roy Cooper III (D) – North Carolina
> Popularity: 52% approve; 37% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $165,750 (15th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.7% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 10,367,022 (9th largest)

Source: njnationalguard / Flickr

35. Gov. Philip Murphy (D) – New Jersey
> Popularity: 53% approve; 39% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2018, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $175,000 (10th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.7% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 9,234,024 (11th largest)

Source: Alaska Governor's Office

34. Gov. Michael Dunleavy (R) – Alaska
> Popularity: 53% approve; 35% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2018, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $145,000 (23rd lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.0% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 735,951 (3rd smallest)

Source: Jacob Moscovitch / Getty Images News via Getty Images

33. Gov. Mike Parson (R) – Missouri
> Popularity: 53% approve; 34% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2018, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $137,167 (19th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.5% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 6,141,534 (19th largest)

Source: govholcomb / Flickr

32. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) – Indiana
> Popularity: 53% approve; 34% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $134,051 (17th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 6,751,340 (17th largest)

31. Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) – Pennsylvania
> Popularity: 53% approve; 26% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $213,026 (3rd highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.4% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 12,970,650 (5th largest)

Source: mngov / Flickr

30. Gov. Tim Walz (D) – Minnesota
> Popularity: 54% approve; 41% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $127,629 (14th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.7% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 5,670,472 (22nd largest)

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images News via Getty Images

29. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) – South Carolina
> Popularity: 54% approve; 36% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving third term
> Annual salary: $106,078 (7th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.2% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 5,078,903 (23rd largest)

Source: blmutah / Flickr

28. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) – Utah
> Popularity: 54% approve; 30% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2021, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $165,600 (16th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.3% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 3,231,370 (21st smallest)

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

27. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) – Iowa
> Popularity: 55% approve; 39% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving third term
> Annual salary: $130,000 (16th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.7% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 3,179,090 (20th smallest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

26. Gov. Maura Healey (D) – Massachusetts
> Popularity: 55% approve; 21% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $185,000 (7th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.8% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 6,991,852 (15th largest)

25. Gov. Wes Moore (D) – Maryland
> Popularity: 55% approve; 16% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $180,000 (9th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.2% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 6,148,545 (18th largest)

Source: Handout / Getty Images News via Getty Images

24. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) – Michigan
> Popularity: 56% approve; 40% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $159,300 (19th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.2% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 10,062,512 (10th largest)

23. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) – California
> Popularity: 56% approve; 38% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $218,556 (2nd highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.2% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 39,455,353 (the largest)

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

22. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) – Florida
> Popularity: 56% approve; 38% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $134,181 (18th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.9% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 21,339,762 (3rd largest)

Source: Justin Merriman / Getty Images News via Getty Images

21. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) – Ohio
> Popularity: 56% approve; 37% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $168,106 (14th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.0% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 11,769,923 (7th largest)

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images News via Getty Images

20. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) – Virginia
> Popularity: 56% approve; 32% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2022, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $175,000 (10th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.9% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 8,582,479 (12th largest)

Source: Stephen Yang / Getty Images News via Getty Images

19. Gov. Doug Burgum (R) – North Dakota
> Popularity: 56% approve; 26% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2016, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $140,830 (21st lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.1% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 773,344 (4th smallest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

18. Gov. Janet Mills (D) – Maine
> Popularity: 57% approve; 40% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $70,000 (the lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,357,046 (9th smallest)

Source: Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images News via Getty Images

17. Gov. Jared Polis (D) – Colorado
> Popularity: 58% approve; 35% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $90,000 (2nd lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 5,723,176 (21st largest)

16. Gov. Laura Kelly (D) – Kansas
> Popularity: 58% approve; 34% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $110,707 (9th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.7% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 2,932,099 (16th smallest)

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

15. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) – Montana
> Popularity: 58% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2021, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $118,397 (10th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.6% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,077,978 (7th smallest)

Source: Mark Makela / Getty Images News via Getty Images

14. Gov. John Carney (D) – Delaware
> Popularity: 58% approve; 31% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $171,000 (13th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.5% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 981,892 (6th smallest)

Source: usacehq / Flickr

13. Gov. Bill Lee (R) – Tennessee
> Popularity: 59% approve; 31% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $204,336 (4th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.4% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 6,859,497 (16th largest)

12. Gov. Brad Little (R) – Idaho
> Popularity: 60% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $138,302 (20th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.7% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,811,617 (13th smallest)

Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images News via Getty Images

11. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) – Georgia
> Popularity: 60% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $175,000 (10th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 10,625,615 (8th largest)

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

10. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) – South Dakota
> Popularity: 61% approve; 37% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $121,578 (11th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.1% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 881,785 (5th smallest)

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

9. Gov. Ned Lamont (D) – Connecticut
> Popularity: 61% approve; 34% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $150,000 (24th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 4.2% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 3,605,330 (22nd smallest)

8. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) – Alabama
> Popularity: 61% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving third term
> Annual salary: $124,563 (13th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.6% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 4,997,675 (24th largest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) – Arkansas
> Popularity: 61% approve; 27% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $158,739 (20th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.3% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 3,006,309 (18th smallest)

6. Gov. Josh Green (D) – Hawaii
> Popularity: 62% approve; 22% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2022, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $165,048 (17th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.5% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,453,498 (11th smallest)

Source: John Sommers II / Getty Images News via Getty Images

5. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) – Kentucky
> Popularity: 63% approve; 32% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving first term
> Annual salary: $152,181 (23rd highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 4,494,141 (25th smallest)

Source: govjustice / Flickr

4. Gov. Jim Justice (R) – West Virginia
> Popularity: 66% approve; 31% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $150,000 (24th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,801,049 (12th smallest)

Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

3. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) – New Hampshire
> Popularity: 66% approve; 29% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving fourth term
> Annual salary: $144,483 (22nd lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.5% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 1,372,175 (10th smallest)

2. Gov. Mark Gordon (R) – Wyoming
> Popularity: 67% approve; 24% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> Annual salary: $105,000 (6th lowest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 3.6% (in line with nat’l avg.)
> State population: 576,641 (the smallest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Gov. Phil Scott (R) – Vermont
> Popularity: 78% approve; 14% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving fourth term
> Annual salary: $191,734 (5th highest of 50 states)
> 2022 state unemployment rate: 2.6% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> State population: 641,637 (2nd smallest)

Methodology

To identify America’s most and least popular governors, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed approval and disapproval ratings for all 50 state governors from Morning Consult, a public opinion data research company. Governors are ranked by their approval rating. Ties were broken by disapproval ratings, and in the case when governors shared the same approval and disapproval rating, the governor with the largest survey sample size ranked higher. 

All polling data was collected among registered voters in the first quarter of 2023. 

Supplementary data on tenure and party affiliation is from the National Governors Association. Data on annual governor salary by state is current as of 2022 and is from the Council of State Governments

We also considered the 2022 annual unemployment rate in each state from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Population data is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

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