Special Report

All 26 Republican Governors, Ranked by Popularity

JillianCain / iStock via Getty Images

A majority of Americans disapprove of how Joe Biden is handling his job as president. Though Biden’s approval rating has inched up in recent weeks, to just 43%, it remains below his 44% average and well below his all-time high of 57%, according to a recent Gallup poll. In keeping with these findings, more Americans now identify as Republican than when Biden first took office. 

Based on Associated Press analysis of voter registration data, over 1 million voters switched to the GOP from mid-2021 to mid-2022. And, according to Gallup polling data, 2022 was the first time in over three decades that the number of Americans who identified as or leaned Republican outnumbered those who identified as or leaned Democratic. 

Meanwhile, in much of the country, executive Republican leadership at the state level has garnered substantial public support. Public opinion research company Morning Consult found that 11 of the 15 most popular sitting state governors are Republican, while only five of the 15 least popular governors are. 

Using data from Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s most and least popular Republican governors. We ranked all 26 Republican state governors by their 2023 approval rating. Ties were broken by disapproval ratings, and in cases where governors shared the same approval and disapproval rating, the governor with the largest survey sample size ranked higher.

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. (Here is a look at each president’s path to the Oval Office.) 

Notably, five of the 26 Republican governors on this list hold office in states that went to the Democrats in the most recent presidential election. In fact, two of the three most popular Republican governors – Phil Scott of Vermont and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire – lead states that Joe Biden won handily in 2020. (Here is a look at the most, and least, effective presidents in American history.)

Click here to see the most and least popular republican governors.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

26. Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen
> Popularity: 45% approve; 30% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 58.5% Republican (12th highest); 39.4% Democratic (12th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $105,000 (6th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.3% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 1,951,480 (14th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

25. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves
> Popularity: 48% approve; 42% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2020, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 57.6% Republican (14th highest); 41.1% Democratic (16th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $122,160 (12th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 2,967,023 (17th smallest of 50 states)

24. Nevada Gov. Joseph Lombardo
> Popularity: 49% approve; 25% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 47.7% Republican (20th lowest); 50.1% Democratic (21st highest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $163,474 (18th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 5.4% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 3,059,238 (19th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images News via Getty Images

23. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt
> Popularity: 51% approve; 42% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 65.4% Republican (3rd highest); 32.3% Democratic (4th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $147,000 (25th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 3,948,136 (23rd smallest of 50 states)

Source: Erich Schlegel / Getty Images News via Getty Images

22. Texas Gov. Gregory Abbott
> Popularity: 52% approve; 43% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2015, currently serving third term
> 2020 presidential election results: 52.1% Republican (23rd highest); 46.5% Democratic (23rd lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $153,750 (21st highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 28,862,581 (2nd largest of 50 states)

21. Alaska Gov. Michael Dunleavy
> Popularity: 53% approve; 35% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2018, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 52.8% Republican (22nd highest); 42.8% Democratic (19th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $145,000 (23rd lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 4.0% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 735,951 (3rd smallest of 50 states)

Source: Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images News via Getty Images

20. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson
> Popularity: 53% approve; 34% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2018, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 56.8% Republican (17th highest); 41.4% Democratic (17th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $137,167 (19th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.5% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 6,141,534 (19th largest of 50 states)

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

19. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb
> Popularity: 53% approve; 34% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 57.0% Republican (15th highest); 41.0% Democratic (15th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $134,051 (17th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 6,751,340 (17th largest of 50 states)

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images News via Getty Images

18. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster
> Popularity: 54% approve; 36% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving third term
> 2020 presidential election results: 55.1% Republican (19th highest); 43.4% Democratic (20th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $106,078 (7th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.2% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 5,078,903 (23rd largest of 50 states)

Source: usdagov / Flickr

17. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox
> Popularity: 54% approve; 30% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2021, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 58.1% Republican (13th highest); 37.6% Democratic (11th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $165,600 (16th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.3% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 3,231,370 (21st smallest of 50 states)

16. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
> Popularity: 55% approve; 39% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving third term
> 2020 presidential election results: 53.1% Republican (21st highest); 44.9% Democratic (21st lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $130,000 (16th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.7% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 3,179,090 (20th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

15. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
> Popularity: 56% approve; 38% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 51.2% Republican (24th highest); 47.9% Democratic (24th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $134,181 (18th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.9% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 21,339,762 (3rd largest of 50 states)

Source: Justin Merriman / Getty Images News via Getty Images

14. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
> Popularity: 56% approve; 37% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 53.3% Republican (20th highest); 45.2% Democratic (22nd lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $168,106 (14th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 4.0% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 11,769,923 (7th largest of 50 states)

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images News via Getty Images

13. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin
> Popularity: 56% approve; 32% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2022, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 44.0% Republican (17th lowest); 54.1% Democratic (16th highest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $175,000 (10th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.9% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 8,582,479 (12th largest of 50 states)

Source: Stephen Yang / Getty Images News via Getty Images

12. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
> Popularity: 56% approve; 26% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2016, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 65.1% Republican (4th highest); 31.8% Democratic (3rd lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $140,830 (21st lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.1% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 773,344 (4th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

11. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte
> Popularity: 58% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2021, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 56.9% Republican (16th highest); 40.5% Democratic (14th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $118,397 (10th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.6% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 1,077,978 (7th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

10. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee
> Popularity: 59% approve; 31% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 60.7% Republican (10th highest); 37.5% Democratic (10th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $204,336 (4th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.4% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 6,859,497 (16th largest of 50 states)

9. Idaho Gov. Brad Little
> Popularity: 60% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 63.9% Republican (5th highest); 33.1% Democratic (5th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $138,302 (20th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.7% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 1,811,617 (13th smallest of 50 states)

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

8. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
> Popularity: 60% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 49.3% Republican (25th lowest); 49.5% Democratic (23rd highest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $175,000 (10th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.0% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 10,625,615 (8th largest of 50 states)

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

7. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
> Popularity: 61% approve; 37% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 61.8% Republican (9th highest); 35.6% Democratic (7th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $121,578 (11th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.1% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 881,785 (5th smallest of 50 states)

6. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey
> Popularity: 61% approve; 33% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving third term
> 2020 presidential election results: 62.0% Republican (8th highest); 36.6% Democratic (9th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $124,563 (13th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.6% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 4,997,675 (24th largest of 50 states)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders
> Popularity: 61% approve; 27% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2023, currently serving first term
> 2020 presidential election results: 62.4% Republican (6th highest); 34.8% Democratic (6th lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $158,739 (20th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.3% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 3,006,309 (18th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Justin Merriman / Getty Images News via Getty Images

4. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice
> Popularity: 66% approve; 31% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 68.6% Republican (2nd highest); 29.7% Democratic (2nd lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $150,000 (24th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.9% (higher than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 1,801,049 (12th smallest of 50 states)

Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

3. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu
> Popularity: 66% approve; 29% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving fourth term
> 2020 presidential election results: 45.4% Republican (19th lowest); 52.7% Democratic (18th highest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $144,483 (22nd lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.5% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 1,372,175 (10th smallest of 50 states)

2. Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon
> Popularity: 67% approve; 24% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2019, currently serving second term
> 2020 presidential election results: 69.9% Republican (the highest); 26.6% Democratic (the lowest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $105,000 (6th lowest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 3.6% (in line with nat’l avg.)
> Population: 576,641 (the smallest of 50 states)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott
> Popularity: 78% approve; 14% disapprove
> Tenure: Took office in 2017, currently serving fourth term
> 2020 presidential election results: 30.7% Republican (the lowest); 66.1% Democratic (the highest)
> Governor’s annual salary: $191,734 (5th highest of 50 states)
> Unemployment rate, 2022: 2.6% (lower than nat’l avg.)
> Population: 641,637 (2nd smallest of 50 states)

Methodology

To identify America’s most and least popular Republican governors, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed approval and disapproval ratings for all 26 Republican 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. 

Data on the 2022 presidential election results by state is from The Cook Political Report, an independent, nonpartisan, political analysis newsletter.  

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