As the 2016 gubernatorial races ramp up, Republicans are hoping to maintain their majority over state governments. However, low popularity ratings have been a concern for some incumbents seeking reelection, and Democrats are looking to make gains in competitive states like West Virginia and Missouri.
While approval ratings are only one metric to evaluate a governor, they can be a useful indicator of how the public will vote. Therefore, InsideGov, a political research site powered by Graphiq, set out to rank the current governors with the worst approval ratings.
To find the least popular U.S. governors, InsideGov used polling data from MorningConsult, a nonpartisan digital media and survey research company. MorningConsult surveyed 71,900 voters in all 50 states between May and September 2016. Governors are ranked in descending order by their net approval rating.* In the case of ties, governors are sorted by their disapproval rating.
On the Republican side, previous 2016 presidential hopefuls Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Scott Walker make the list, along with vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence. On the other side of the aisle, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy ranks as the least popular Democratic governor.
Overall, eight of the 25 least popular governors are Democrats. Keep in mind, though, that there are only 18 Democratic governors total, compared to 31 Republican ones. With twelve state governorships up for election this fall, that distribution could change.
*Note: The net approval rating is the approval rating minus the disapproval rating. Respondents who said they didn't know or were undecided are not included in these figures.