Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 23, 2011

REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS GET TO WORK, LOSE SUPPORT.... Following up on an item from the weekend, Republican gubernatorial candidates scored big wins last year in some of the nation's largest and most competitive states. When the dust settled on the 2010 cycle, the GOP had picked up governors' offices they had lost in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

That was last year. This year, those governors have gotten to work advancing a very conservative agenda. It's obviously still quite early in their respective tenures, but after taking a look at what these GOP governors have in mind, their constituents' are experiencing an acute case of buyers' remorse.

A new survey from Public Policy Polling, for example, shows Michigan voters turning on their new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, who turned out to be much more conservative than the state realized.

Snyder actually now has the worst numbers of this new trio of GOP Governors, with only 33% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. And despite his overwhelming victory last fall voters now say that if they could do it over they'd pick Virg Bernero over Snyder by a 47-45 margin. [...]

What's happened to Snyder? What made him such a formidable candidate last fall was incredibly strong support from independents and an unusual amount of crossover appeal to Democrats. Neither of those things has lasted.

That's what happens when a governor folks thought was a moderate starts pushing a radical agenda.

But the larger point here is that all of these governors are running into the same mainstream opposition.

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich (R) has seen his support plummet in recent months, a trend bolstered by a new Quinnipiac poll, released this morning, that showed his approval rating down to just 30%.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) -- the one who's desperate to make brutal cuts to education, while increasing spending on prisons -- hasn't exactly impressed his constituents, either. Last week, a statewide poll found only 31% of Pennsylvanians had a positive impression of his job performance.

Polls in Wisconsin have shown widespread opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's (R) agenda, and if voters had it to do over again, they wish they'd voted for former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who lost to Walker by six points in November.

And while I haven't seen any polling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), there's ample evidence he's managing to offend just about everyone.

Will this prove relevant in 2012? Time will tell, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does. Republicans scored big wins in 2010, not because the GOP was popular, but because much of the public was dissatisfied with the status quo, and Dems happened to be the dominant majority.

But now those same voters have been reminded exactly why they didn't like Republicans in the first place.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Well, Americans vote their pathologies as much as they do their interests. They make dumb decisions all the time (the price of gasoline is low today, so I'll buy an SUV). I'm a hopeful kind of guy, so I'll hope for the best come 2012, but hope is nothing but hope.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 23, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

This seems to be one of the biggest weaknesses of our two-party system. If you don't like the status quo there's only one other option and they are often worse.

Posted by: olau76 on March 23, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, don't forget Iowa elected Terry Brandstad. That guy has been governor for so much of my life (I'm 26 now), that when I was a kid, I assumed people were governors for life.

Posted by: John on March 23, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I don't get this. If 50% of the voters disapprove of Snyder and 33% approve why is he losing theoretically by only 2% (47-45 margin). How is this possible?

Posted by: rk21 on March 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Traditionally state Republicans are more moderate than congressional or national Republicans. They have to be. They have to actually govern. For reasons that relate directly to Citizens United and the pervasive influence of outside money, the last crop of Republicans were congressional Republicans and radical Republicans at that. The current crop will either learn to be moderate or they will be gone in the next cycle.

The closer government gets to people the more politicians have to deal with their actual demands.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 23, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I don't get this. If 50% of the voters disapprove of Snyder and 33% approve why is he losing theoretically by only 2% (47-45 margin). How is this possible?

Well, in the poll on approval, 17% of voters are undecided. When polled on a revote against Bernaro, a bunch of the the undecideds choose to keep him, and a few percent who disapprove, also choose to keep him.

Virg Bernaro was not a stellar Dem candidate. I voted for him, but really would have preferred a better candidate.

Posted by: sue on March 23, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

"But now those same voters have been reminded exactly why they didn't like Republicans in the first place."

How many time do they need to be reminded?

You'd think after a dozen years of the looney-tunes in the House, and 8 years of Little Boots getting into wars, and killing people and economies, that people might learn.


Americans really are a blank slate.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 23, 2011 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

After numerous debacles, voters overwhelmingly voted against the GOP in 2006 and 2008, only to completely forget in only 2 years all the corruption, craziness, and short-sightedness that led them to kick the Republicans out in the first place. We can only hope that this reinforces the fact in the public mind that Republicans can't be trusted, but I'm skeptical.

Posted by: Kris on March 23, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, this all brings us back to WHY OH WHY Obama and the Congressional Dems didn’t make the mid-terms about not just the potential loss of the progressive agenda, but the enactment of a regressive RightWing agenda, to have something for the Dem base to go to the polls and vote FOR.

Posted by: Joe Friday on March 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

"those governors have gotten to work advancing a very conservative agenda."

Is there some new definition of "Conservative" that I am unaware of?

"The closer government gets to people the more politicians have to deal with their actual demands."- Ron Byers

Exactly right! And "The People" demand roads and cops and schools- and all the things that differentiate us from Afghanistan.

Posted by: DAY on March 23, 2011 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Republicans scored big wins in 2010" because of deceptive product marketing, all made possible because of Citizens United and fools who watch and believe what they hear and see on Fox News.

Posted by: withay on March 23, 2011 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

During the glorious reign of dubuuloo it often occurred that almost anything that raised the possibility of employing the actual events which included the support , not just of the American working public but for the American working public , was just ultimately a dispiritedly puerile , pie in the sky dream . I once saw the question period for the really great English poodle , Tony Blair , and thought "Wow wouldn't it be a great opportunity for Booschie to offer his deep , thoughtfully grounded commitments , at a regularly scheduled public event" .
I gave up on that soon after it became clear that sweet and humble English poodle , Tony Blair , was not the least bit fazed by dissembling in front of unsympathetic people . The cold dawning of reason etched the impossibility of human concern rising from any Boochsie , let alone the cheerleader for the rise of American misery Boochsie . That possibility of any Republican hesitating before bringing out the patented plausible denial hedge , or a , I don't recall theater , was a bit humorous . The consequences of a Boochsie parallel reality being seen as fraud and lies wasn't creating any kind of pause or panic for a Connecticut aristocrat to Texas aristocrat and always , always , first and last , a trust fund baby .
A good use of American political capital might be entertaining the idea of establishing majority rules . Next would be the unambiguous denial of individual rights for corporations , barring that , real culpability for the officers of said corporations for the crimes they have a water cooler laugh about today . If the law is that a corporate entity has no equal obligations of truthfulness between their shareholders and when using our public air waves , the propagandizing should be continue without a hitch . The point being , as usual , there is no lipstick on any shelves or in fiction that could hide the ugly of disabling the most robust economy in history to provide another few years of worship for the illegitimate seizure of power through the theft of our nations treasury .

Posted by: FRP on March 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

joe friday you ask why din't the dems and Obama make the mid-terms more about the regressive right-wing agenda. My answer to that is, if they could get even half the air time our so called liberal media gives to the repukes on a daily bases maybe they could get this message out better. Instead, no matter what morning show or evening news show you watch they ALWAYS are talking to some dang repuke no matter what the subject matter!

Posted by: nodak on March 23, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

"very conservative agenda" Read Fascist agenda as per the desires of KOCH BROS to destroy Democracy and violate the US CONSTITUTION. These Governors who swore to uphold state and federal ocnstitutions but continue to use authoritarian one party rule should be tried for TREASON.

Posted by: ML Johnston on March 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

wrt the rookie republican governors.....can they spell 'recall'?

Posted by: kindness on March 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think a better phrase than 'very conservative' for these policies is 'reactionary'. These wingers are working to undo every advance in civil rights in this country since 1910.

They hate labor laws (to include worker benefits like pensions, insurance, sick leave, safety & health regs...), they hate the minimum wage, they hate Social Security, they hate Depression-era financial regulation, they hate the Civil Rights Act, they hate the Voting Rights Act, they hate the Great Society, they hate the Roe v. Wade decision.

They would repeal every last one of these laws and programs if they could. This is not 'convervatism' by any means.

Posted by: millsapian87 on March 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think a better phrase than 'very conservative' for these policies is 'reactionary'.

Better still would be 'movement conservatism'. It sounds darker and more nefarious than reactionary. But best of all would be 'new movement conservatism'. It has the benefit of being an oxymoron, nefarious, and true all in one.

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on March 23, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, for a couple of days now you have included Florida in the list of states which had picked up aq governor's office after they had lost it. Florida doesn't belong on that list. Republicans may disagree but Charlie was a republican.

Posted by: wordtypist on March 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry,meant to specify Charlie Crist. I guess that's why WM offers a chance to preview comments.

Posted by: wordtypist on March 23, 2011 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

There will be no polls on Rick Scott. He's outlawed them. :)

He's also blind to criticism, has stated he won't read emails, won't agree to interviews, and has demanded that Star Wars be rewritten to make Jar Jar Binks the hero.

Posted by: Howey on March 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the important question is, how many of those states have recall mechanisms, and how soon can they be employed?

And, since it can't be asked too often, WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Posted by: Six on March 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

@sue @ 11:25 AM,
-Good for you on VOTING, period, even though you didn't feel that the Democrat was "a stellar candidate"! You still VOTED, and made a CHOICE, as was your civic DUTY!

And, @Joe Friday @ 11:40 AM,
-It DOESN'T matter if the party you nominally support "inspires you" or not! It's still *YOUR* CIVIC *DUTY* to come out and VOTE!

Because, as we can ALL see now, not voting can enable a lot WORSE.

Posted by: knnightphoenix2 on March 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

In 2010, Republicans showed once again that their strength is creative advertising. Voters bought it. And so did Democratic candidates, who panicked and then ran away from themselves.
We'll see if Republicans can sell the same bill of goods in 2012, now that everyone has seen what it really is -- warts and all. Maybe they can with their huge advertising budget. I hope not, but...

Posted by: jeri on March 23, 2011 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

@Howey: Actually, he wants to make Senator Palpatine the hero of "Star Wars". Yeesh-even my pretty conservative parents voted for Sink (or against Voldemort, anyway).

Posted by: Werewolf on March 23, 2011 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

*sigh* On the comment at 2:55 PM, I put one "n" too many in my name. It's supposed to be "knightphoenix2", not "knnightphoenix2". Sorry.

Posted by: knightphoenix2 on March 23, 2011 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK



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