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Raimondo’s disapproval rate is highest in the country among governors

Governor Gina Raimondo in January.
Governor Gina Raimondo in January.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — This is not the list Governor Gina Raimondo wants to lead.

A poll released Thursday by Morning Consult shows Raimondo is the least popular governor in the country, and she is one of only four governors with a job disapproval rating of at least 50 percent.

The second-term Democrat has a job approval rating of 36 percent and a disapproval rating of 56 percent, passing Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin as the most unpopular governor in the country.

By comparison, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s 73 percent approval rating was best in the nation.

The online survey netted responses from 2,094 registered Rhode Island voters between July 1 and Sept. 30 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Morning Consult publishes its gubernatorial rankings on a quarterly basis.

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Raimondo has consistently ranked among the least popular governors in Morning Consult polls since taking office in 2015, but she was easily reelected last year. She is term-limited in 2022.

“With Rhode Island’s 3.6 percent unemployment, it is surprising Governor Raimondo has the lowest approval rate in the country,” Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, said in an e-mail. “States that have a robust economy generally have popular governors. The results suggest voters disapprove of her leadership even if there are positive economic results.”

Josh Block, a spokesman for the governor, declined to comment directly on the poll but pointed to a series of accomplishments under Raimondo’s watch.

“Today we saw another month of jobs data with over half a million jobs in our state and unemployment at a 30-year low,” Block said. “We’ve provided thousands of students with access to high-quality Pre-K and tuition-free college. And we’ve helped train over 6,200 Rhode Islanders for high-wage jobs in today’s economy. These are the numbers the governor cares about.”

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Whether they support her or dislike her, the poll shows most Rhode Island voters have an opinion of Raimondo. Rhode Island was the only state in the country where fewer than 10 percent of voters responded that they don’t know whether they approve or disapprove of the governor’s job performance.

All of the 10 most popular governors are Republicans, including Baker. Six of the 10 least popular governors are Democrats, including Ned Lamont from Connecticut and Janet Mills from Maine.

As chair of the Democratic Governors Association, one of Raimondo’s top priorities in 2019 is trying to unseat Bevin, the unpopular Republican from Kentucky.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @danmcgowan.