Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Has Heineman Plateaued?

by Kyle Michaelis
For being unelected and having about a 30% chance of surviving May's Republican primary, you've got to give Governor Dave Heineman some credit for maintaining a respectable degree of favorability in the eyes of Nebraska voters.

The latest job approval numbers in SurveyUSA's state-by-state tracking poll put Heineman at 59%, down from his high last month of 63% but still within the same margin of error. As a matter of raw approval, this ties him for 13th most popular governor in the country.

Still, things aren't necessarily looking up for Heineman. Even with the Mt. St. Osborne challenge on the horizon, Heineman's approval has not only stagnated (or slightly fallen); there has also been a steady but undeniable rise in those who disapprove of his performance.

Whereas in May, more than a quarter of voters were still feeling Heineman out, six months later only 11% are still unsure about the guy....and most of those who have since made up their mind have decided he's not their man.

Of course, Heineman still has a 70% approval rating with registered Republicans, and they're his first hurdle if he wants a term in his own right. But thinking he's doing an okay job does not translate into giving him the electoral nod over one of the most famous and beloved men in the state.

Another six months to go. I don't personally put a whole lot of stock in each and every poll that comes out, but I certainly appreciate having something to report on this front besides my own pure, unsolicited speculation.


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