Republican Governors of More Quickly Reopening States Fare Worst in Poll

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican governor who has set some of the strictest restrictions for his state, has high approval ratings.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican governor who has set some of the strictest restrictions for his state, has high approval ratings. AP Photo


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Utah governor signs law to require him to seek legislative consultation on emergency orders … Indiana court suspends state attorney general’s law license … Michigan to study banning guns in the state capitol.

The overwhelming majority of people generally think their governors are doing a good job responding to the coronavirus and imposing necessary restrictions on economic activity to contain the highly infectious respiratory illness, a new poll found. Those who aren’t faring so well? Republican governors at the forefront of allowing various kinds of businesses to reopen had some of the lowest approval ratings in the poll by the Washington Post and Ipsos, with respondents in those states more likely to say they believed their states were lifting restrictions “too quickly.” For example, the survey of 8,000 people found that 61% of people polled in Georgia disapproved of Gov. Brian Kemp's handling of the outbreak and 65% thought the state was reopening too soon. The results were better for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had a 60% job approval rating. Still, 48% of Florida respondents said they thought the state was lifting business restrictions too quickly. Contrast these evaluations with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who implemented some of the toughest restrictions early on in the pandemic, who has a 86% approval rating in the poll, which surveyed people between April 27 and May 4. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they thought Ohio was handling opening back up “about right.” Democratic governors generally received positive marks, with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading the way with approval ratings of their responses at 79% and 81%, respectively. Other governors who have been the target of large protests about stay-at-home orders and business closures also fared well, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf each showing a 72% approval rating. And despite those protests, the poll found majorities—62% in Michigan and 59% in Pennsylvania—thought the state government was taking the right approach to loosening business restrictions. [Washington Post]

EMERGENCY CONSULTATION | Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law on Monday requiring him to consult with state House and Senate leaders before making an emergency declaration. The governor will have to give legislators 24 hours notice before issuing emergency orders and lawmakers now have the power to terminate a governor’s emergency executive action. [Salt Lake Tribune]

UNEMPLOYED GIG WORKERS | Delaware gig workers who currently can’t get any work because of the coronavirus can now begin applying for unemployment. A federal law passed last month temporarily allows contractors to apply for unemployment, but many states have struggled to update their systems to allow them to apply. Delaware officials say they will be ready to take applications next week. [Delaware News Journal]

INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL SUSPENSION | The Indiana Supreme Court suspended the law license of Attorney General Curtis T. Hill Jr. for 30 days, finding there was “clear and convincing evidence” he committed a crime and groped four women during a legislative party in 2018. One of the women was a state lawmaker and the other three were legislative staff. Hill, a Republican, said he accepted the ruling but denied the conduct and has resisted calls for him to resign, including one from Gov. Eric Holcomb, a fellow Republican. [New York Times; WSLS]

GUN BAN DELAYED | A decision over whether to ban guns from the Michigan state capitol was postponed on Monday when the state Capitol Commission voted to create a special panel to study the issue. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who called for guns to be banned from the capitol after armed protesters entered the legislative gallery during a vote on extending the state’s emergency order, said she was "very disappointed that the Capitol Commission did not take action today to keep legislators safe." [NBC News]

Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty. Emma Coleman is the assistant editor of Route Fifty.

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