Longtime Idaho state Treasurer Ron Crane has had some rocky times recently – with a legislative audit showing he unnecessarily lost more than $10 million in taxpayer money through a complicated investment plan.

But his bad PR appears not to be hurting him in the eyes of the public, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a new survey that 32 percent of Idahoans “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the job Crane is doing investing $2.73 billion in taxpayer funds.

Only 15 percent disapprove of Crane’s job.

With less than half of all Idahoans even having an opinion of Crane, it follows – Jones found – that 26 percent have heard of Crane but have no opinion of the job he’s doing; 19 percent have never heard of Crane at all; and 8 percent “don’t know.”

A story in the Idaho Statesman details some of Crane’s problems. Another news story detailed allegations that Crane used a state credit card to pay for gasoline for his personal car used to commute to the Capitol.

In any case, Crane, a Republican, is doing better among GOP Idahoans, Jones finds:

  • 44 percent of Republicans approve of the job Crane is doing, 9 percent disapprove, 23 percent have heard of Crane but have no opinion of him, 15 percent have never heard of Crane and 8 percent don’t know.
  • Democrats are more critical, only 20 percent approve of his work, 28 percent disapprove, 25 percent have heard of him but have no opinion, 22 percent never heard of him and 6 percent don’t know.
  • Political independents also don’t know much about Crane, 28 percent approve of his job performance, 16 percent disapprove, 29 percent have heard of him but have no opinion, 19 percent have never heard of him, and 7 percent don’t know.

Crane told the Spokesman he had made changes within his office to control better the kind of investments that caused the loss in taxpayer monies.

Meanwhile, Jones finds that the Idaho Legislature is just short of getting the approval of half of all Idahoans.

  • 43 percent of Idahoans approve of the job the Legislature is doing, 35 percent disapprove, 12 percent of heard of legislative actions but have no opinion of its work, 4 percent have never heard of the Idaho Legislature (some civics education needed here), and 6 percent “don’t know.”

The Legislature is controlled by Republicans – as are all major offices in the state.

Jones finds:

  • 59 percent of Republicans approve of the job the GOP-controlled Legislature is doing, 18 percent of the majority party’s members disapprove of its job performance, 12 percent have heard of the Legislature but have no opinion, 4 percent have never heard of the Legislature, and 2 percent don’t know.
  • Democrats and political independents are more critical of the amorphous body’s work.

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats disapprove of the Legislature, 27 percent approve, 9 percent have heard of the Legislature but have no opinion, 4 percent have never heard of the Legislature, and 2 percent don’t know.

  • 46 percent of political independents disapprove of the Legislature, 34 percent approve, 12 percent have heard of the body but have no opinion, 2 percent have never heard of the Legislature, and 7 percent don’t know.

Generally speaking, if any legislative body, or city council, can get above 50 percent approval rating, that is a good thing, says Jones, who has polled for more than 40 years.

The latest survey is of 508 adult Idahoans conducted Aug. 20-31, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.35 percent.