Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Perdue's 'fumbles' reflected in numbers mired in 20s

As anyone who pays attention to polling already knows, Public Policy Polling in Raleigh is regarded as a Democratic institution, doing a lot of work for Democrats. But they've also noticed that PPP doesn't pull punches for Democrats, either.

Case in point: Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat and first woman to be elected either lieutenant governor (serving from 2001-09) and first woman to be governor. Her approval numbers most of this year have been abysmal, falling into the 20s range and staying there. Recent polls have detected a bit of an upswing for Perdue, thought to reflect some public approval of her hard-line stance against the release of life-term inmates convicted in the 1970s or her efforts to jump-start completion of the I-485 Outer Loop in Charlotte.

But PPP analyst Tom Jensen does not find much good in the numbers for Perdue. She's one of the eight "least popular" governors in the country, he notes. He says, "Perdue's fumbles in the middle of the year turned North Carolina voters against her" and her advisers need to do something dramatic to change the way voters view her. Here's his latest analysis:

As Bev Perdue's first year in office comes to a close there's really nothing positive that can be gleaned from her poll numbers.

Her approval rating is mired in the 20s, as it has been for most of the second half of 2009, and voters in the state don't think she's been improving her performance or that it will get any better in 2010.

Perdue's approval comes in at 27% this month, with 53% of voters disapproving of her. After her numbers plummeted between February and May they've remained very consistent, with her approval coming in between 24 and 30% every month since June and her disapproval registering between 49 and 55% each of those months.

A PPP analysis of approval polls on Governors last week found that Perdue is one of the eight least popular in the country. Her two fellow newly elected Democratic Governors, Jay Nixon of Missouri and Jack Markell of Delaware, found far superior approval ratings of 42/25 and 40/31 in recent PPP surveys.

Perdue's approval woes were spawned from the legislative session and difficult business of balancing the budget and there had been some speculation that her numbers would approve once that was in the rear view mirror. But only 18% of voters in the state think that Perdue's performance has improved since the legislators went home.

There's likewise little optimism from the state's voters that Perdue will learn from the mistakes of year 1 and do a better job in the second year of her term. Just 32% of voters express the sentiment that Perdue will do a better job in 2010 than she has in 2009 with 44% saying they think she will not and 24% unsure.

Perdue's fumbles in the middle of the year turned North Carolina voters against her, and nothing she's done since has changed their minds. It's pretty clear at this point that piecemeal, incremental changes in the Governor's way of doing business are not going to win the voters back to her. Something needs to change dramatically if she's going to get public opinion about her turned around, and while the exact nature of that is beyond my pay grade her team should be looking for it.

And regardless of how much Perdue might shrug off her poll numbers they do matter. Out of her fellow seven Governors in the 'least popular' club four are not seeking reelection next year and three are currently favored to lose their party's primaries if they do vie for another term. Perdue will likely be facing a choice between those two scenarios a year and a half from now if things have not gotten back on the right track. More immediately a Governor with an approval rating in the 20s doesn't have much political capital to get legislators who have to run for reelection in 2010 to do much of anything she wants if it's risky/controversial during the short session. Vulnerable incumbents are going to jump off her ship before it sinks them too.

It will be interesting to see if anything changes or if Perdue keeps slogging along.


See it all at http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2009/12/wrapping-up-perdues-first-year.html

7 comments:

Mike H said...

She benefitted from being on the straight ticket vote for Obama. I'm neither a Democrat or Republican and I would prefer that straight ticket option is removed. It would be refreshing if the voting populace is informed on the person they are voting for.

Anonymous said...

Perdue comes across like a reactionary politician.

Who wants that ? Bert and Ernie can govern the state in that fashion.

I imagine as obamas numbers keep falling, and they will.. the lesson learned about straight ticket voting, and race voting will be a painful one.

John said...

Lies, pandering and empty promises (oddly enough, it sounds like her comments on I-485 fit into all three at once) tend to lead to bad poll numbers once people catch on... and they have!

Anonymous said...

Well perhaps she should have given some actual thought to the repercussions of RAISING TAXES during a recession!

Of course, according to GMA this morning, Obama's numbers aren't looking so hot these days either.

Dems - enjoy your days as majority leaders, my guess is they are numbered.

Jack and the Stimulus Package said...

I don’t like my (pick one) Doctor, Governor or President. He or she is not of my color, sex, or political party.

He or she had the gall to diagnose my illness and attempt to do something about it by prescribing a treatment.

But I fooled he or she. I won’t take that medicine.

That will surely make them look foolish, right?

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