Maybe the Recall Dunleavy people saw the writing on the wall when they laid down their cannons this past summer and quit: Gov. Mike Dunleavy is, in fact, popular.
Dunleavy is the 16th most popular governor among the 50 states, according to Morning Consult, a survey firm that seasonally ranks the popularity of elected officials.
Dunleavy ranked higher than Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a Democrat who recently beat a recall attempt at the ballot box. Dunleavy also ranked higher than Gov. Brad Little, of Idaho, a Republican who is being challenged for governor by his own Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin in the May, 2022 primary.
At 57% approval rating, Dunleavy is just one point below South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in the survey.
The most popular governor in the survey was Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican serving in Vermont, who has a 79% approval.
Of the top 20 governors in the approval rankings, 15 are Republicans, while five are Democrats.
Dunleavy, who faced a recall campaign that started only three months after he took office, has seen his approval rating go up and down and up again. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Morning Consult had him at a dead even, with 42% approving, and 42% disapproving of him, and he was ranked 9 among all 50 governors for popularity. At that same time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a 58% approval rating.
Morning Consult successfully predicted the free-fall of former Gov. Bill Walker in 2018. The polling firm named him the least popular governor running for re-election in 2018, with net approval of -26%. He ended up with just 2 percent of the vote — 5,757 Alaskan voters to Dunleavy’s 51.4% or 145,631 votes.
“Walker posted the largest net slide in approval of any governor in the fourth quarter, falling 19 points compared to the previous quarter,” the survey firm reported.
In this final quarter of 2021, a reputable Alaska survey firm showed the same results as Morning Consult did for Dunleavy, who will face off against non-party candidate Walker, Democrat Les Gara, and Libertarian Joe Miller, who is set to announce his candidacy on Monday morning.
Republican DeSantis, although much lauded by conservatives around the country this year for his battle with President Joe Biden, has a 52% approval in his state, and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is at 50%.
The least popular governor in the country is Oregon Democrat Kate Brown, who has a 43% approval rating. That is up slightly from the fourth quarter of 2019, when 37% of Oregonians approved of her.