Martinez’s popularity stands out among GOP governors
Gov. Susana Martinez remains popular six months into her tenure, a new poll from the left-leaning group Public Policy Polling finds.
Some 52 percent of those surveyed said they approve of the job Martinez is doing, while 37 percent said they disapprove. Read the poll memo here.
From the memo:
“Her disapproval is up a bit from February, when she rated 53-29. She benefits from strong crossover support. 32% of Democrats approve of her while only 56% disapprove. Martinez would fare well in a do-over of the 2010 election. She leads Diane Denish 53-44. Martinez, Haley in South Carolina, and Sandoval in Nevada are the only newly elected Republican governors PPP has polled who would win in a hypothetical do-over election.”
The survey of 732 New Mexico voters was conducted from June 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
On Public Policy Polling’s blog, Tom Jensen wrote, “A female Hispanic Governor who’s maintaining her popularity as she governs a blue state? Martinez would be at the top of my VP list for next year if I was a Republican strategist.”
Keep in mind that Public Policy Polling is a left-leaning firm.
The Public Policy Polling survey points to an interesting situation in New Mexico that NMPolitics.net reported on last month in its monthly newsletter that goes out to qualifying donors. I highlighted a state GOP poll conducted in late March that had Martinez’s popularity at 61 percent, with 31 percent viewing her unfavorably.
The survey of 600 likely general-election voters was conducted March 29-31 by TargetPoint.
Though I predicted in the June newsletter that Martinez’s popularity had likely dropped into the 50s, I highlighted the fact that, unlike most GOP governor across the country, Martinez remains popular.
As the Washington Post recently reported, the low approval ratings of most GOP governors of swing states could help President Barack Obama’s re-election chances next year. From the Post:
“In Michigan, Rick Snyder has only a 33 percent approval rating, with a hefty disapproval rating of 60 percent. Down in Florida, Rick Scott is at 29 percent approval and 57 percent disapproval. Ohio’s John Kasich has 33 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Wisconsin firebrand Scott Walker is right there at 43 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval.
“In two other swing states, Iowa’s Terry Branstad (39 percent approval, 47 percent disapproval) and New Jersey’s Chris Christie (an even 44-44 percent split) are faring only slightly better.”
Obama’s popularity in the March GOP poll was 53 percent, while 44 percent said they view him unfavorably. In the new Public Policy Polling survey, 50 percent said they approve of the job Obama is doing and 44 percent said they disapprove.
The fact that both Obama and Martinez are strong in New Mexico makes the Land of Enchantment one of the more interesting states to watch in next year’s presidential race.
What’s different about Martinez?
In last month’s newsletter, I explained the reasons I believe Martinez is more popular than many of her GOP peers.
“While many are declaring war on unions and slashing across the board, Martinez has taken a more balanced approach to governing. Sure, she’s done things like roll back regulations that many on the left would say are about protecting big business at the expense of the people, but here are some examples of actions that earn her positive media coverage and boost her popularity:
“• She very publicly took on New Mexico Gas Company, blaming the company for long outages that came during record low temperatures across the state in February.
“• She personally oversaw an investigation into CYFD’s handling of an abuse complaint after the agency failed to act and a child died.
“• She fought during the legislative session to slash public school administration but protect teachers from any cuts.
“• She signed a bill sought by progressive Democrats that requires more transparency from health insurance companies seeking rate increases – a bill designed to protect consumers.
“I’m not arguing that Martinez is a populist (or that she’s not). I’m simply saying she’s done enough to earn herself a higher approval rating than many other Republican governors. In the presidential race, a candidate with a similar reputation, if one exists, might be the best the GOP can put forward against Obama, at least in New Mexico.”