Idaho is a very Republican state, but its GOP major officeholders do not please many citizens beyond their Republican partisan bases, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds.
Since the state is so Republican, doing well among the GOP gives Gov. Butch Otter and the U.S. senators and representatives decent approval numbers from the general voting public, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates in a new survey for the online Idaho political newsletter.
Still, the incumbents’ numbers are not that impressive.
- 48 percent of Idahoans approve of the job Otter is doing.
- 43 percent disapprove.
- 6 percent have heard of Otter but have no opinion of him.
- And 3 percent of Idahoans don’t know who Otter is.
It is best for a high-profile, sitting government executive to be over 50 percent approval rating. Otter falls just short of that.
President Barack Obama, for example, now has an approval rating of just over 50 percent in most national polls.
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, up for re-election this year, has a 53 percent approval rating statewide, Jones finds.
Twenty-eight percent of Idahoans disapprove of the job Crapo is doing in the U.S. Senate; 12 percent have heard of him, but have no opinion, and 7 percent don’t know who he is.
For other top officeholders:
- Only 45 percent of Idahoans have a favorable opinion on Sen. Jim Risch.
- 29 percent disapprove of the job Risch is doing.
- 16 percent have heard of him but have no opinion.
- And 12 percent don’t know who he is.
Twenty-eight percent of constituents not knowing or not having an opinion is rather a large number for someone in public office as long as Risch.
Both of Idaho’s U.S. GOP congressmen are up for re-election this year.
Jones finds that in his 1st Congressional District, Rep. Raul Labrador has a 46 percent approval rating, 32 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing, 9 percent have heard of him but have no opinion, and 12 percent don’t know who he is.
Labrador is a member of the arch-conservative wing of the 435-member U.S. House.
Rep. Mike Simpson, who is a conservative, but more moderate than Labrador, does well, Jones finds:
- Among his 2nd District constituents, 59 percent approve of the job Simpson is doing – the highest approval rating measured in the state.
- 23 percent disapprove of Simpson’s actions.
- 12 percent have heard of his name but have no opinion.
- And 7 percent of his district have never heard of him.
As mentioned above, among their GOP partisan base, the Republican officeholders do much better – and so are clearly in a good place in their 2016 re-election bids.
Otter: 74 percent of Idaho Republicans approve of the job he’s doing, but 20 percent of his party disapprove of the governor.
Democrats disapprove of Otter, 68-17 percent.
Political independents disapprove of Otter’s job performance, 49-43 percent.
Crapo: 74 percent of Republicans like the senator’s work, only 10 percent disapprove.
Democrats disapprove, 56-21 percent.
Independents approve of Crapo’s work, 50-32 percent.
Risch doesn’t fare as well as his Senate colleague:
- Republicans approve of Risch’s job performance, 62-8 percent.
- Democrats disapprove 52-19 percent.
- Political independents are split, 38 percent approve of him, 38 percent disapprove.
The Idaho Legislature does pretty well in the eyes of Idahoans – especially for an amorphous body that is not well known individually by voters.
Jones finds that 48 percent of Idahoans like the job the Legislature is doing, 39 percent disapprove, 9 percent have heard of the Legislature but have no opinion, and 4 percent have never even heard of the Legislature.
Lastly, Jones found that other state officers – several of whom have had their controversies recently in the press – are less well known to many Idahoans.
Lieutenant Governor Brad Little: 39 percent approve of his job performance, 18 percent disapprove, 24 percent have heard of him but have no opinion, and 20 percent have never heard of him,
Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra: 31 percent approve, 28 percent disapprove, 22 percent have heard of her but have no opinion, and 19 percent never heard of her.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden: 39 percent approve of his work, 17 percent disapprove, 22 percent have heard of him but have no opinion, and 23 percent have never heard of him.
For the statewide officers and the Legislature, Jones polled 603 adults from May 18 to June 4. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.99 percent.