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Pollster: McDonnell’s plummet is striking

By   /   July 16, 2013  /   No Comments

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PLUMMETING APPROVAL: Gov. Bob McDonnell’s net approval rating sunk 12 points from the end of May to mid-July.

By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau

ALEXANDRIA—It looks as if the growing scandal involving Gov. Bob McDonnell’s family and a wealthy donor are starting to hurt the governor’s approval ratings.

The breadth of the approval plunge is surprising even pollsters.

McDonnell’s net approval rating took a 12-point dive over the past month, putting him in negative numbers for the first time since he took office, according to a poll released Monday from Public Policy Polling. Only 36 percent of those polled approved of McDonnell’s performance as governor; 41 percent disapproved.

Dustin Ingalls, assistant director for PPP, said it’s about the sharpest drop he’s seen in polling in recent memory. PPP last polled Virginia voters about McDonnell in late May.

“I do think that the magnitude of the drop in his approval rating is somewhat surprising,” Ingalls told Watchdog.org. “When you poll that frequently, you don’t’ usually see a poll drop that sharp.”

For months, it seemed, the Star Scientific saga was barely denting McDonnell’s public perception, but the most recent poll seems to indicate otherwise.

PPP took the public’s pulse after the Washington Post broke a story last week citing $120,000 more in undisclosed gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams to McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

“It certainly is the biggest thing in the news that’s affecting McDonnell himself,” Ingalls said. “Certainly, there could be some policy (factor) as well. But most likely, that’s 90 percent of the drop in his approval rating.”

McDonnell’s ethical standing among the public is even worse. Just 31 percent of those polled consider him to be an ethical politician; 45 percent don’t.

Still, voters aren’t sure he should resign. Of those polled, 35 percent said he should; 45 percent said he should stay in office. The rest weren’t sure.

PPP surveyed 601 registered voters through automated telephone interviews from July 11-14, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

—Kathryn Watson is a reporter for the Virginia Bureau of Watchdog.org, and can be contacted at katie@watchdogvirginia.org.

 

Bob McDonnell approval ratings from Public Policy Polling:

mcdonnellratings

 

 

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Kathryn Watson is an investigative reporter for Watchdog.org's Virginia Bureau. Her work has appeared in places like Drudge Report, Washington Examiner, Reason and Human Events, and she has made appearances on Fox News and NBC4. An alumna of the National Journalism Center, Katie is a member of Investigative Reporters Editors. She graduated with a journalism degree and highest honors from Biola University in L.A., where she ran the student newspaper. Her work has earned her "Best in Show" and two first-place awards from the Virginia Press Association.

Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau, is in no way affiliated with "The Virginia Watchdog". Any similarities between Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau and "The Virginia Watchdog" is completely coincidental and unintentional. Any inquiries into "The Virginia Watchdog" may be done through their site.