New poll finds net negative approval for Branstad

More Iowa voters disapprove than approve of Terry Branstad’s performance as governor, according to the latest statewide survey by Public Policy Polling. Of 1,109 Iowa voters polled between April 15 and April 17, just 41 percent approved of Branstad’s performance, while 45 percent disapproved and 14 percent were not sure. In a hypothetical rematch between Branstad and Governor Chet Culver, 48 percent of respondents said they would vote for Culver, while 46 percent would vote for Branstad. Full results and crosstabs are here (pdf). Branstad was in net positive territory with men (45 percent approve/43 percent disapprove), but women disapproved by a 48-37 margin. The sample doesn’t perfectly match the Iowa electorate; I noticed that 38 percent of respondents said they were Democrats, 33 percent said they were Republicans and 29 percent said they were independents. As of April 2011, Iowa has 1,955,217 active voters, of whom 647,060 are registered Democrats (33 percent), 610,006 are registered Republicans (31 percent), and 696,061 are no-party voters (36 percent).

PPP’s last Iowa poll, taken in January, found only 40 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Branstad, while 44 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

The new survey suggests a plurality of Iowa voters accept marriage equality. Asked “which best describes your opinion on gay marriage,” 35 percent of respondents said “gay couples should be allowed to legally marry,” 29 percent said “gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry,” 33 percent said “there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship,” and 2 percent were unsure. PPP’s January survey of Iowa voters asked the question differently and found 41 percent said same-sex marriage should be legal, 52 percent said it should not be legal, and 8 percent were unsure.

PPP also recorded job approval numbers for Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin and favorable/unfavorable numbers for Iowa’s five U.S. House representatives, Christie Vilsack and Tom Vilsack. Grassley and Harkin were both in net positive territory, but Grassley’s ratings (57/30) were much stronger than Harkin’s (47/38). It’s hard to read anything into the favorability ratings of the House members, since the opinion of voters statewide won’t necessarily reflect representatives’ standing in their own districts.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that to my knowledge, Chet Culver’s approval ratings didn’t fall to the low 40s until the second half of 2009, when he was dealing with a recession, state budget crunch and the film tax credit fiasco.

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