Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blagojevich: The Great Divider

Six months after a hot election campaign, elected officials tend to ease back into a period of positive job approval with the voters as they work to win back some of those voters they lost as a result of a tough campaign.

Not so with Rod Blagojevich who seems to be picking up right where he left off on Election Day. And given his latest job approval ratings from voters, perhaps we should refer to the Governor as "The Great Divider."

Six months after a big re-election victory, Gov. Blagojevich is barely hanging on to a majority of voters at 50.6% who say they approve of the job he is doing. 42.1% of voters disapprove of his performance -- and it is the ferocity of that disapproval that is surprising with more people 'strongly disapproving' of his performance than those that 'strongly approve'.

22.8% Strongly Approve
27.8% Somewhat Approve
14.8% Somewhat Disapprove
27.3% Strongly Disapprove

The Governor's job approval clearly continues where his 'positive/negative' perception left off on Election Day. And his 42.1% negatives almost identically match those 43% of voters that disapprove of his Gross Receipts Tax proposal. Six months after Election Day, Gov. Blagojevich's job performance is clearly dividing the state of Illinois in substantial ways.

Blagojevich's 50% approval is being driven by an 81% job approval among African American voters -- higher than he ever polled among that constituency during the month of October 2006. And the City of Chicago gives him a 75% job approval rating -- again, driven by African American voters.

But he's bombing among white voters who now disapprove of his performance 42.2% - 50.7%. And look at his job performance by region:
75% - 20% Chicago
57% - 33% Non Chicago, Cook County
44% - 47% Collar Counties
33% - 58% West/ Northwest
35% - 62% Central
37% - 59% Southern

Take a look at the crosstabs here. Today's headlines in the Chicago Tribune cannot be good news for a Governor clearly struggling to get his footing with voters who are not letting go of the negative feelings they built up during last fall's slash and burn re-election campaign.


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