November, 30th 2009

Oh hi, Christine Gregoire, how's that popularity thing working out for you, there?

– Liz Mair

Christine Gregoire, my home state's Democratic Governor originally elected in rather controversial circumstances back in 2004, but who managed a clear win last year (53% to Republican and 2004 runner-up Dino Rossi's 47%), appears to be falling out of Washingtonians' good books.  New Survey USA data (via has her sitting, er, ugly, actually, with a mere 33% approval rating.

This result-- and similarly crappy results for other Democratic Governors about which respondents were asked-- appears to conveniently coincide with people getting more and more frustrated with big spending and the prospect of big tax hikes, of which Gregoire has always been a bit of a fan.  Gregoire managed a stunning sixth-from-worst F-grade on her 2006 CATO Fiscal Report Card, and an only slightly better D in 2008.  Indeed, in her first term, she went on what might charitably be described as a spending binge, and she's whacked up taxes on anything that might be viewed as "bad," while simultaneously supporting a state-level estate tax and indicating that she personally thinks that a state-level income tax (Washington doesn't have one) is a good idea.

But it isn't just that.  Gregoire also backed a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct, something that nearly everyone I talked to when back in Seattle in September was sour on as a solution to that particular local transport problem (and it was a big one-- just take a look at the Mayor's race).  In short, in addition to having wound up looking like she's pursued a bad prescription for keeping the state economically healthy, she's also wound up looking rather out of touch with a lot of the folks "back home."  I can't say that surprises me very much.  Too bad voters made the mistake of re-electing her.

Expect to see a lot of pushback from Washington Democrats on this poll.  It's being dubbed fishy by folks already, anyway, but let's be honest, even if the methodology was off a bit, it seems unlikely that Gregoire is sitting pretty with any better than a 40% approval rating.  Ultimately, given the overall anti-incumbency trends and voter unhappiness we seem to be seeing across the rest of the country, and the fact that Democrats basically control Washington's government (and haven't handled it all that well from a fiscal standpoint), that's bad news for her, and her party, as a whole, to boot. [intro]



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