Government & Politics

Sam Brownback of Kansas has been dethroned as the nation’s least popular governor

Sam Brownback reflects on his first six years as Kansas governor

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday, Dec. 14, that he's sure that he's done things wrong. But at the end of the day, he said, he wants to be a positive contributor to the soul.
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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday, Dec. 14, that he's sure that he's done things wrong. But at the end of the day, he said, he wants to be a positive contributor to the soul.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has lost a title he probably didn’t care for much in the first place.

The Republican is now the second least popular governor in the country. Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, meanwhile, is among the least popular U.S. senators, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

Who’s the least popular governor in the U.S.? That would be Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Morning Consult, a media and survey research company based in the nation’s capital, said it polled more than 85,000 registered voters across the country from January to March in an effort to determine American public officials’ approval rankings.

Morning Consult polled 1,026 people in Kansas and 2,525 people in Missouri to determine rankings for the state’s leading politicians.

The data show that 66 percent of the people responding disapproved of Brownback’s work as the governor of Kansas, while McCaskill had a 39 percent disapproval rating, the fifth worst of any United States senator.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday, Dec. 14, that he's sure that he's done things wrong. But at the end of the day, he said, he wants to be a positive contributor to the soul.

Her fellow Missouri senator, Republican Roy Blunt, didn’t fare much better. He tied for seventh least popular senator with a 38 percent disapproval rating.

The second-place finish was an improvement for Brownback, who has often been ranked by Morning Consult as the least popular governor in the country.

Brownback’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Morning Consult results, which also showed only 27 percent of respondents approved of the Kansas governor’s work.

Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned from office amid scandal this week, had a 44 percent approval rating, 17 points higher than Brownback.

Brownback has remained unpopular even among Kansas Republicans during the later years of his term in office. Many moderate Republicans ran successful election campaigns in 2016 criticizing the governor’s policies.

Patrick Miller, a political science professor at the University of Kansas, said he doesn’t doubt that Brownback is “quite unpopular.”

Miller said it sounds like Brownback’s approval support is probably down to the hardcore base of the Republican Party in Kansas.

“The people who approve of him now likely just approve of him because he’s a Republican and they’re a Republican,” Miller said.

Morning Consult’s poll also showed that while McCaskill’s disapproval rating ranks near the top, the Missouri Democrat still has a 47 percent approval rating, the same as Blunt.

McCaskill’s office declined to comment on the poll.

Miller noted that the poll should concern McCaskill as she heads into what looks to be a tough re-election race to retain her Senate seat in 2018. Morning Consult said McCaskill is the least popular senator on the list of most vulnerable incumbents.

“You’re not going to look at that data and say she’s doomed or that she’s safe,” Miller said. “You see an incumbent who has reason to be concerned.”

Missouri overwhelmingly voted for Republican President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

The Morning Consult survey also showed that early on in his term as governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens has a 51 percent approval rating and a 25 percent disapproval rating.

Among other senators, Kansas Republican Jerry Moran has a 51 percent approval rating paired with only 29 percent of people who disapprove of his work in office.

Pat Roberts, the other U.S. senator from Kansas, received a 47 percent approval rating and a 35 percent disapproval rating.

Lindsay Wise contributed to this report.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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