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Culver’s Low Approval Rating the Product of Trends, Other Factors

Posted: Friday, November 20th, 2009 at 6:29 am

A recent poll showed Iowa Governor Chet Culver’s approval rating dipping to just 40 percent; a number that does not appear to bode well for an incumbent governor planning to seek re-election. Dr. Andrew Green, a Political Science professor at Central College says while it is typical for a governor’s approval rating to decrease as their term is carried out, other factors have contributed to Culver’s low approval numbers.

“In this particular climate when you couple in the economic problems, unemployment, [and] massive budget deficits, that’s only going to serve to exacerbate the approval ratings for governors, not only here in Iowa – as we’ve seen Governor Culver’s approval ratings drop by about 20 percentage points over the last year – but across the country.”

The poll showed leading Republicans Bob Vander Plaats and Terry Branstad both ahead of Culver in a head-to-head race if elections were held today. Green adds that the race for Iowa’s governor in 2010 could be very interesting, particularly if former governor Branstad earns the Republican nomination.

“Really what we could end up having – unlike most elections – is a race between the incumbent governor, Chet Culver, and a candidate who is going to be treated like an incumbent; and that’s [former] Governor Branstad.”

Still, Green says there is a lot of time between now and Election Day and says the political scene in Iowa could greatly change in that time.