A Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press poll finds a majority of
registered Minnesota voters think Governor Jesse Ventura is doing a "good" or
"excellent" job. Ventura's popularity is rebounding since his controversial
comments to Playboy magazine last fall. His advisors say voters are pleased with
the governor's concentration on government business.
ACCORDING TO THE SURVEY,
nine percent of Minnesota voters rate the governor's job
performance as excellent and 43 percent think he's doing a good job. Twenty-eight percent
of the 641 respondents said Jesse Ventura is doing a fair job as governor and 18
percent think he's doing poorly. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus
four percentage points.
It's an across-the-board improvement from the last Minnesota Public Radio - St.
Paul Pioneer Press Poll in which Ventura logged his lowest ever rating. That
October survey followed Ventura's Playboy interview, which featured
controversial statements about religion and other topics.
The poll also found that 54 percent of Minnesotans think Governor Ventura is a
needed breath of fresh air in state government.
Governor Ventura had no comment on his showing in the latest poll. His spokesman,
John Wodele, says the Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press poll results
are similar to other polls which show an improved trend since last fall and more
over, impressive average numbers since the Ventura was elected.
"He is more engaged with the Legislature
than he was at this time last year and part of that is because the agenda he is
facing more challenges that it was before."
- Steven Schier
"If you take the different polls that are taken and you look over the past 14
months, the trend is he's going to be very consistently in the 60-percent area
of job approval," Wodele noted, calling the trend "remarkable."
Ventura has said recently he's working to concentrate on policy. Wodele
attributes the governor's return to favorability to Ventura's concentration on
state business. "The thing that helps popularity most and gives him a good job-approval rating is the fact that he is very focused on his job," Wodele said.
Carlton College political science department chair Steven Schier says
Ventura is benefiting in the polls because he's acting more gubernatorial.
"The absence of mistakes always helps a politicians," he said. "You can't get in trouble for what you don't do and what you don't say."
Schier says had the poll been taken after Ventura's latest trip to Washington -
during which he talked a lot of about free trade and tax policy - the numbers
would likely have come in as good or better. It seems as long as the relatively
moderate governor stays out of trouble and uses his popularity to address issues
important to Minnesotans, Minnesotans will view him favorably.