Maybe it boils down to public office fatigue.
Idaho GOP Gov. Butch Otter has marginal job approval ratings, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
And a huge majority of Idahoans want to have some kind of term limits for their governor – perhaps reflecting that some believe Otter has just been in one public office or another for too long.
Otter is now in his third, four-year gubernatorial term.
The new survey by pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that only 47 percent of Idahoans “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the job Otter is doing as governor.
Thirty-nine percent disapprove of his work as governor; 9 percent said they recognize his name, but have no opinion of his work; 4 percent said they’ve never heard of Otter (hard to imagine, considering how long he’s been in the public eye); and 3 percent didn’t know.
There’s no such doubt, however, when Jones asked if an Idaho governor should have some kind of term limits placed on his service.
A massive 82 percent said yes.
Only 13 percent said there should be no term limits on the governor, and 6 percent didn’t know.
Rarely in public opinion polling – and Jones has been doing it for over 40 years – does one find such a super-majority feeling on one subject.
Maybe those 4 percent who had never heard of Otter are recent implants to the Gem State.
For if you’ve lived here for any stretch of time, one would think you would have heard of Otter.
Here is a history of the man, which shows he won his first election to the Idaho Legislature way back in 1973.
He was elected lieutenant governor in 1986.
He served four terms in that office. Then won the first of three terms to the U.S. House, and then won his first term as governor in 2006 and then two subsequent elections to four-year terms – his last coming a year ago.
If an Idaho legislator – Republican or Democrat – wanted a popular issue to push next year he couldn’t do better than term limits for governor.
Jones finds that 74 percent – three out of four – Idaho rank-and-file Republicans want term limits for governor. Only 19 percent of Republicans oppose it.
Eighty-six percent of Democrats favor gubernatorial term limits.
But political independents really want such limits, which they favor, 89-6 percent.
Idaho had term limits – which included limits on legislators -- but the Legislature repealed them in 2002.
Here is a recent history of term limit votes by state across the nation.
Otter, over all, has a favorability rating in Idaho (in the 40th percentile) as Democratic President Barack Obama has across the nation.
That’s got to sting a bit.
But Otter is doing fine among his own Idaho Republicans.
Jones finds Republicans favor Otter, 68-16 percent, with 10 percent recognizing his name but having no opinion of him, 3 percent not knowing who he is, and 2 percent don’t know.
Democrats and independents are less favorable toward him:
-- Only 16 percent of Democrats give Otter a favorable rating, 78 percent disapprove of the work he does, 4 percent knew his name but had no opinion, 2 percent hadn’t heard of him and 0 percent didn’t know.
-- For political independents, 40 percent approve of the job Otter is doing as governor, 48 percent disapprove, 8 percent had heard of him but had no opinion, 2 percent had never heard of him and 3 percent didn’t know.
The latest survey is of 508 adult Idahoans conducted Aug. 20-31, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.35 percent.