Special Report

How Gov. Kristi Noem's Approval Compares to the Nation's Most Popular Governors

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.

Based on 2023 survey data, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has an approval rating of 61% and a disapproval rating of 37%. Based on these figures, Noem ranks as the 10th most popular state governor in the country.

Noem, a Republican, took office in 2019 and is currently serving her second term as governor.

All data in this story is from Morning Consult, a public opinion data research company. Governors were 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.

 

Rank Governor State Approval rating (%) Dissaproval rating (%) In office since Party
1 Phil Scott Vermont 78 14 2017 Republican
2 Mark Gordon Wyoming 67 24 2019 Republican
3 Chris Sununu New Hampshire 66 29 2017 Republican
4 Jim Justice West Virginia 66 31 2017 Republican
5 Andy Beshear Kentucky 63 32 2019 Democratic
6 Josh Green Hawaii 62 22 2022 Democratic
7 Sarah Huckabee Sanders Arkansas 61 27 2023 Republican
8 Kay Ivey Alabama 61 33 2017 Republican
9 Ned Lamont Connecticut 61 34 2019 Democratic
10 Kristi Noem South Dakota 61 37 2019 Republican
11 Brian Kemp Georgia 60 33 2019 Republican
12 Brad Little Idaho 60 33 2019 Republican
13 Bill Lee Tennessee 59 31 2019 Republican
14 John Carney Delaware 58 31 2017 Democratic
15 Greg Gianforte Montana 58 33 2021 Republican
16 Laura Kelly Kansas 58 34 2019 Democratic
17 Jared Polis Colorado 58 35 2019 Democratic
18 Janet Mills Maine 57 40 2019 Democratic
19 Doug Burgum North Dakota 56 26 2016 Republican
20 Glenn Youngkin Virginia 56 32 2022 Republican
21 Mike DeWine Ohio 56 37 2019 Republican
22 Ron DeSantis Florida 56 38 2019 Republican
23 Gavin Newsom California 56 38 2019 Democratic
24 Gretchen Whitmer Michigan 56 40 2019 Democratic
25 Wes Moore Maryland 55 16 2023 Democratic
26 Maura Healey Massachusetts 55 21 2023 Democratic
27 Kim Reynolds Iowa 55 39 2017 Republican
28 Spencer Cox Utah 54 30 2021 Republican
29 Henry McMaster South Carolina 54 36 2017 Republican
30 Tim Walz Minnesota 54 41 2019 Democratic
31 Josh Shapiro Pennsylvania 53 26 2023 Democratic
32 Eric Holcomb Indiana 53 34 2017 Republican
33 Mike Parson Missouri 53 34 2018 Republican
34 Michael Dunleavy Alaska 53 35 2018 Republican
35 Philip Murphy New Jersey 53 39 2018 Democratic
36 Roy Cooper III North Carolina 52 37 2017 Democratic
37 Gregory Abbott Texas 52 43 2015 Republican
38 JB Pritzker Illinois 52 43 2019 Democratic
39 Tony Evers Wisconsin 52 43 2019 Democratic
40 Kathy Hochul New York 51 41 2021 Democratic
41 John Bel Edwards Louisiana 51 41 2016 Democratic
42 Kevin Stitt Oklahoma 51 42 2019 Republican
43 Jay Inslee Washington 51 43 2013 Democratic
44 Michelle Lujan Grisham New Mexico 51 43 2019 Democratic
45 Dan McKee Rhode Island 50 37 2021 Democratic
46 Joseph Lombardo Nevada 49 25 2023 Republican
47 Tate Reeves Mississippi 48 42 2020 Republican
48 Katie Hobbs Arizona 47 36 2023 Democratic
49 Jim Pillen Nebraska 45 30 2023 Republican
50 Tina Kotek Oregon 42 39 2023 Democratic

 

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