Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Virginia thinks of Bob McDonnell

Average approval rating: 51%/30% for +21%.
Average approval with women: 45%/31% for +14%.
Average approval with men: 57%/31% for +26%.
Average approval with GOP: 76%/11%
Average approval with Democrats: 25%/52% for -27%.
Average approval with independents: 54%/27% for +27%.
Average approval with whites: 55%/28% for +27%.
Average approval with blacks: 30%/43% for -13%.

A few weeks ago, I started looking closely at homestate approval ratings for potential presidential candidates from both parties.

I first checked out the Democratic candidates (here), recently looked at Marco Rubio (here), and today we'll check out Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's numbers.

I took the 10 most recent polls with the most extensive internals to arrive at the overall numbers.

The caveat to all this is that the most recent poll (February 14) came before McDonnell signed a transportation bill that, among other things, raised both taxes and conservatives' ire.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board crossed his name off its 2016 list, and Erick Erickson called McDonnell worse than Charlie Crist, which is just about as searing as you can go (for his part, McDonnell defended the bill in a Washington Examiner piece yesterday).

It's not clear how regular Virginia Republicans will interpret the number, but in the future, you could see his numbers with Republicans dip a bit, while rising a bit with independents.

a. McDonnell came popular, remained popular, and will go out popular.

Virginia governors are blessed with a one-term limit, and as such, rarely have to deal with brewing scandals, a bored (and therefore mischievous) media, and a fatigued public.

That's not to say that McDonnell's popularity is purely about position, but he was only seriously tested during the transvaginal controversy, but otherwise, his has been a relatively smooth tenure.

At various points, both local and national media tried to drive a narrative that his popularity was slipping, but there's no empirical proof that his name ever went into the red for even one news cycle.

His average approval rating runs at 51%/30%, which is an impressive +21% in a purple state, and if he runs for president, he'll have an accomplished resume and the goodwill of his constituents.

b. Women like him.

Some thought the transvaginal controversy might break the goodwill between McDonnell and women, but the bond has lasted.

On average, 45% of women approve of McDonnell's performance, while just 31% disapprove. That's a solid +14% gap that's particularly impressive when you consider that women backed Obama by 9% over Romney in Virginia.

When Republicans go about picking their presidential candidate, it's particularly important they nominate someone who appeals to women, and McDonnell at least satisfies that requirement.

c. He hits 30% approval with blacks.

A GOP presidential candidate will almost certainly never win 30% of blacks, nationally, but they do need to cut into the Dem margins.

And that's quite possible.

In 2000, George W. Bush picked up 10% of the black vote and four years later, he scored 11% of blacks. Contrast that with Mitt Romney, who only managed 6% of blacks, and you can see that Republicans (stats, via Roper) have room to the upside.

Overall, McDonnell's name is in the 2016 hat, because he's a popular governor in a must-win state/commonwealth for the GOP. That doesn't mean he's without huge liabilities, because he does lug around some monsters.

But you can't take away the fact he's had a very popular run as governor.

RECENT POLLS that averages are based on:

a. Quinnipiac University (February 2013).

Overall approval rating: 53%/28% for +25%.
Approval with women, 50%/29% for +21%.
Approval with men 56%/26% for +30%.
Approval with GOP 77%/11% for +66%.
Approval with Democrats, 32%/47% for -15%.
Approval with Indies 55%/22% for +33%.
Approval with Whites: 57%/26% for +31%.
Approval with Hispanics: N/A.
Approval with Blacks: 37%/42% for -5%.

b. Quinnipiac University (January 2013).

Overall approval rating: 54%/27% for +27%.
Approval with women: 50%/26% for +24%.
Approval with men: 58%/28% for +30%.
Approval with Democrats: 36%/40% for -4%.
Approval with Republicans: 76%/11% for +65%.
Approval with Indies: 58%/26% for +32%.
Approval with Whites: 59%/24% for +35%.
Approval with Hispanics: n/a
Approval with Blacks: 33%/37% for -4%.

c. Public Policy Polling (January 2013).

Overall approval rating: 48%/35% for +13%.
Approval with women: 45%/32% for +13%.
Approval with men: 53%/40% for +13%.
Approval with the GOP: 76%/15% for +61%.
Approval with Democrats: 20%/54% for -34%.
Approval with Indies: 52%/34% for +18%.
Approval with Whites: 52%/35% for +17%.
Approval with Hispanics: N/A
Approval with Blacks: 24%/50% for -26%.

d. Quinnipiac University (November 2012).

Overall approval rating: 53%/26% for +27%.
Approval with women: 48%/26% for +22%.
Approval with men: 59%/27% for +32%.
Approval with GOP: 74%/10% for +64%.
Approval with Dems: 34%/43% for -9%.
Approval with Indies: 58%/23% for +35%.
Approval with whites: 58%/25% for +33%.
Approval with blacks: 41%/32% for +9%.
Approval with Hispanics: N/A/

e. Quinnipiac/CBS/New York Times (October 2012).

Overall approval rating: 52%/29% for +23%.

f. Roanoke College (October 2012).

Overall approval rating: 51%/24% for +27%.

g. Rasmussen Reports (October 2012).

Overall approval rating: 59%/34%.

h. Roanoke College (September 2012).

Overall approval rating: 51%/25%.

i. Public Policy Polling (September 2012)

Overall approval rating: 44%/36% for +8%.
Approval with women: 35%/38% for -3%.
Approval with men: 53%/33% for +20%.
Approval with GOP: 74%/11% for +63%.
Approval with Dems: 11%/66% for -55%.
Approval with Indies: 48%/29% for +19%.
Approval with Whites: 50%/30% for +20%.
Approval with Hispanics: n/a
Approval with Blacks: 17%/52% for -35%.

j. Public Policy Polling (August 2012).

Overall approval rating: 48%/33% for +15%.
Approval with women: 40%/34% for +6%.
Approval with men: 55%/31% for +24%.
Approval with GOP: 81%/5% for +76%.
Approval with Dems: 15%/59% for -44%.
Approval with indies: 53%/29% for +24%.
Approval with whites: 54%/28% for +36%.
Approval with blacks: 27%/44% for -17%.