Poll: Ohio governor’s approval rating sinks to historic low
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – In the wake of convictions for ethics violations, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft’s approval rating has dipped to a dismal 15 percent, making him one of the most unpopular politicians in the history of political polls.A poll conducted by The Columbus Dispatch found support for the Republican is lower than the three most unpopular U.S. presidents since polling began in the mid-1900s, and may be the lowest rating of any Ohio governor.Taft, a great-grandson of President William Howard Taft, was convicted in August of four misdemeanor ethics convictions for failing to report gifts and golf outings and has presided over the state’s wide-ranging investment scandal.Even support among Republicans has eroded, with three-fourths saying they disapprove of his performance.”Almost any figure who’s elected in a partisan election usually has at least some support from his party,” said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. “Usually there’s a party base. It’s hard mathematically to get that low.”Taft spokesman Mark Rickel dismissed the poll.”The governor doesn’t govern by polls. He governs by good public policy and making a difference for Ohioans,” Rickel said.According to Gallup figures, Taft’s approval rating is worse than that of President Truman after he fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur, President Carter during the Iran hostage crisis or President Nixon during Watergate.A database maintained by three universities says the previous recorded low for an Ohio governor was Richard F. Celeste, who sank to 32 percent in April 1983. Only three governors were lower than 15 percent.Taft, who is serving his second term, is prohibited by law from seeking re-election in 2006.The poll, conducted by mail Sept. 22-29, is based on responses from 1,325 registered voters who say they intend to vote Nov. 8. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.
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