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What's Red is Blue and Blue is Red

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Survey USA has new approval ratings for all 50 governors. The polls bear out an odd trend that has become increasingly clear over the past few months. In general, Democratic governors are popular in Republican states, while Republican governors are more popular in Democratic states:


* Republican governors in states carried by Bush in '04 have an average approval rating of 51 percent. Republicans in Kerry states have an average approval of 54 percent.


* Democratic governors in states carried by Bush have an average approval rating of 59 percent. Democrats in states carried by Kerry only average 46 percent.



I can't explain this counterintuitive situation with any certainty. Perhaps when governors see their constituents supporting the opposite party, they respond by moderating their policies.


Another possibility is that voters like divided government. Most state legislatures are controlled by a majority party. Maybe voters like their governors to check the power of the legislature.


Regardless, it will be interesting to see this dynamic play out in next fall's elections. If Democratic governors such as Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming and Brad Henry of Oklahoma, as well as Republican governors such as Jim Douglas of Vermont and Jodi Rell of Connecticut, can win reelection, pundits will have to rethink the whole red state-blue state phenomenon. All four of them have approval ratings over 60% at this point.


Real Clear Politics has more analysis on the Survey USA poll.





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