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Only five governors less popular than Pennsylvania Democrat Tom Wolf

By Anthony Hennen | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Gov. Tom Wolf is term-limited and not running for reelection, and it may be for the best. Only five governors in the country are less popular.

That’s according to the latest Morning Consult survey, which looked at governors’ popularity across the nation.

Wolf isn’t underwater, however. He has a 47% approval rating and a 46% disapproval rating. Pennsylvanians are divided on Wolf, but that has been consistent since early 2021 when Morning Consult polls showed his rating moving between 46% and 48% approval.

Wolf lags behind most other governors; 38 have an approval rating of 50% or higher. Yet, he and all governors are more popular than President Joe Biden, who has an approval rating of 39%.

Neighboring state governors all have better ratings than Wolf: Kathy Hochul (New York, 49%), Phil Murphy (New Jersey, 52%), John Carney (Delaware, 56%), Mike DeWine (Ohio, 57%), Jim Justice (West Virginia, 66%), and Larry Hogan (Maryland, 70%).

Of the 10 governors with the highest approval ratings, eight are Republicans and two are Democrats. Of the 10 governors with the lowest approval ratings, five are Republicans and five are Democrats.

“The latest surveys, conducted April 1-June 30, 2022, show that – with only a few exceptions – most Democratic governors have been able to float above their party’s deteriorating political environment,” Eli Yokely wrote for Morning Consult.

Biden’s low numbers might help governors of all political stripes. With voters more upset about federal politics, they pay less attention to state-level politics.

“Virtually every measurement of public opinion shows that Americans are in a foul mood about their political leaders and institutions,” Louis Jacobson of Sabato’s Crystal Ball from the University of Virginia wrote. “But one group seems to have escaped this wrath: governors.”

Voters have focused on issues that governors have less control over like inflation, the economy, and supply chain problems. Aside from crime, most of the attention has been on federal, not state, problems. 

Whether the public’s view of Wolf will affect the gubernatorial race between Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano is unclear. A recent AARP poll shows that Shapiro has a 49-46 lead over Mastriano, and a narrow 48-47 lead among voters aged 50+.

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