New Mexico In Depth’s recent profile of Susana Martinez “draws an important conclusion” about New Mexico’s Republican governor, an editor at the D.C. publication National Journal says.
Scott Bland blogged about NMID’s profile earlier this week and wrote this about Martinez: “While her sharp dealings with the New Mexico Legislature may harm her standing with the political class in the capital, they may be boosting her standing with her constituents.” He pointed to this line in NMID’s profile: “Martinez’s efforts to shake up the Roundhouse may help explain why voters like her.”
From Bland’s post:
“This is not just a local hypothesis; it seems likely that this dynamic helped maintain the high ratings of some other high-profile, popular governors across the country, who are now carrying good approval into their reelection cycle. By the same token, some governors whose parties held unified control have run into difficulty, and governors whose parties just gained power are sounding cautious about how they will use it.”
Bland also cites the popularity of Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Mark Dayton of Minnesota, and Republican Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Brian Sandoval of Nevada to make his point. All have high approval ratings in their states and have to deal with legislative majorities from the opposite political party.
The pattern doesn’t always hold true, Bland writes, but “working within divided government seems to be a great way for governors to stay popular. Congress is an extreme example, but legislatures in general aren’t all that popular right now, with gridlock and sausage-making often turning off voters. Many see both parties as increasingly intransigent and unwilling to compromise. A governor who can battle against such unpopular forces can channel voters’ displeasure.”