Job Approval Isn’t the Same for the President and Governor

Given the disparity in approval among North Carolinians between the President and the N.C. Governor in our latest poll (released today), it made me curious about what was driving these differences in their support, or lack thereof.  Since Governor Perdue is a white female and Obama is a black male and both are Democrats in need of Independent support, I decided to explore their job approval by gender, race, and party identification.  The results are provided below.  There are some surprising and substantial differences between President Obama and Governor Perdue with regard to their job approval among North Carolinians. As you can see, two places where Democrats must draw support are absent for Governor Perdue.  Admittedly, there are many, many different factors that affect job approval ratings; also, I was just struck by the stark contrast in job approval between the President and Governor, and it got me to thinking about the “why” question.  Why are these differences emerging?  Keep reading, I’ve provided some tables comparing the President and the Governor’s job approval across these three factors (gender, race, and party identification).  At this point, I’m just exploring these disparities; if I have time in the near or distant future, I may try to look into these in more depth.

Gender
Surprisingly and somewhat counter to expectations, Governor Perdue performs worse among women (compared to President Obama). On average we expect women to support Democratic issues (and thus, candidates) more than men and, with that said, we should see an additional gender benefit for a Democratic woman, since women generally are more supportive of women.  But, such is not the case.  President Obama performs as we would expect, i.e., he should, and does enjoy more approval from women than men; in fact, he has a net positive advantage of 6.4 percent among women (which is the difference in approval and disapproval) and only a net negative of 1.4 percent among men.  However, the additional benefit we should expect for Governor Perdue is not forthcoming; she has a net negative of 12.6 percent among women (and her net negative among men is even more – 17.6 percent). She is not performing well with women, or men (though such is expected for the latter).

Presidential Job Approval by Gender

Job Approval

Gender

MALE

FEMALE

STRONGLY DISAPPROVE/DISAPPROVE

50.7%

46.8%

STRONGLY APPROVE/APPROVE

49.3%

53.2%

Total (N=630; +/-3.98)

100.0%

100.0%


Gubernatorial Job Approval by Gender

Job Approval

Gender

MALE

FEMALE

STRONGLY DISAPPROVE/DISAPPROVE

58.8%

56.3%

STRONGLY APPROVE/ APPROVE

41.2%

43.7%

Total (N=630; +/-3.98)

100.0%

100.0%

Race
Convention suggests that black Democrats should enjoy a huge advantage in support from blacks and that Democrats in general should enjoy solid support from blacks.  Such expectation proves quite clear for President Obama – he has a substantial advantage in black support – 96% to 4%!  Yet again, similar to her performance among women, Governor Perdue is not performing well among blacks.  While President Obama has a net 90-plus margin among blacks, Governor Perdue has a net negative, albeit slight, but it is still a net negative.  For such a solid Democratic block of support to divide on the Governor is not conventional. Not to suggest a Republican candidate can swoop in and draw black support away from her, but this is an area that can make her vulnerable in the future if it isn’t addressed.

Presidential Job Approval by Race

Job Approval

Race

Other

Black

White

STRONGLY DISAPPROVE/DISAPPROVE

33.8%

4.3%

67.9%

STRONGLY APPROVE/APPROVE

66.2%

95.7%

32.1%

Total (N=630; +/-3.98)

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

Gubernatorial Job Approval by Race

Job Approval

Race

Other

Black

White

STRONGLY DISAPPROVE/DISAPPROVE

47.6%

51.9%

61.4%

STRONGLY APPROVE/ APPROVE

52.4%

48.1%

38.6%

Total (N=630; +/-3.98)

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

Party Identification
No surprises here among partisans (Republicans don’t like Democrats and vice-versa), but those people identifying as Independents are critical, but particularly in close elections (which is what the President had in N.C. in ’08).  President Obama fares well among self-identified Independents, but again, the story turns to Governor Perdue and her serious underperformance here (a net negative margin over 20%).

Presidential Job Approval by Party Identification

Job Approval

Party Identification

DEMOCRAT

INDEPENDENT

REPUBLICAN

STRONGLY DISAPPROVE/DISAPPROVE

14.9%

46.0%

91.6%

STRONGLY APPROVE/APPROVE

85.1%

54.0%

8.4%

Total (N=630; +/-3.98)

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

Gubernatorial Job Approval by Party

Job Approval

Party Identification

DEMOCRAT

INDEPENDENT

REPUBLICAN

STRONGLY DISAPPROVE/DISAPPROVE

40.8%

60.7%

75.6%

STRONGLY APPROVE/ APPROVE

59.2%

39.3%

24.4%

Total (N=630; +/-3.98)

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

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