TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback’s standing among peers continued to suffer in new polling at the same time U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts’ approval rating took a nosedive.
Brownback, who plans to resign as governor if confirmed as religious freedom ambassador for President Donald Trump, can thank angry registered voters in Connecticut for his bump in Morning Consult’s state-by-state ranking of governors. Brownback’s now the third-most disliked governor rather than the second-most loathed.
The Kansas Republican’s ranking escalated because support for Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut crashed between July and October.
The approval rating of Christie, infamous for the “Bridgegate” scandal, plummeted from 25 percent to 18 percent. Christie’s showing was the lowest since Morning Consult started the survey in 2016. Malloy had been supported by 29 percent, but that condensed to 23 percent.
Twenty-four percent of Kansans approved of Brownback's performance as of October, which was a decline of 1 percentage point from the previous Morning Consult assessment but still high enough to advance one slot in the field.
“Kansans have already made their decision on Brownback,” said Burdett Loomis, a former political science professor at the University of Kansas. “I’ve never seen anyone so disengaged.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was America’s most popular chief executive with a favorability rating of 69 percent. Governors with the 10 highest approval ratings were all Republicans.
The public’s perception of Roberts suffered during the three-month period, dipping from 43 percent in July to 39 percent by October. Perspectives of U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., nudged up 1 percentage point to 45 percent during a period that included the senator’s decision not to endorse a GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“Moran’s refusal to blindly follow Donald Trump did not hurt him,” said Bob Beatty, a Washburn University political science professor.
The Morning Consult poll indicated the nation’s most popular U.S. senator was Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont. The most disliked in the chamber was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican.
The poll regarding U.S. governors and senators engaged 255,000 registered voters in the 50 states in an online format from July 1 to Sept. 30. The margin of error for the Kansas survey was 2 percent.