A Critical Insights tracking poll reports that of those folks who think Maine is heading in the right direction, 46% believe that is because Governor LePage is "doing a good job," while "improving economy/jobs" is the next reason cited, at 24%. For those who believe the state is heading in the wrong direction, only 37% blame the governor, followed by 29% who blame the bad economy and a lack of jobs.
I spoke to MaryEllen FitzGerald, president of Critical Insights, about the numbers. She told me the Governor's approval rating has dropped just 4 percentage points, from 47% to 43%, since the same measurement was taken in the Fall of 2011. She agrees with me that the governor’s fairly stable favorability rating is surprising, given an onslaight of derisive editorial condemnations like this one by columnist like Bill Nemitz, and the ample negative press coverage about budget cuts and LePage’s use of the line item veto.
The poll was conducted from May 2 through May 7, so only some of those polled knew about LePage’s advice on Sunday to “all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job.” Would his ratings have been even higher if all those polled had seen that news coverage? Impossible to say without hard data. But the poll does make you wonder, and raises the question of whether LePage’s core economic messages are resonating with Maine people, even if the media doesn’t like his less-than-elegant way of delivering them.
The poll was released to the press on Friday afternoon, so everyone will probably be reading about it in Saturday's papers. Members of the media: FitzGerald is available for comment at 207-772-7011.