Q&A of the Day – Politics is far more local than you may realize
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Mississippi often ranks as the most conservative/a highly conservative state (@GallupNews in ‘12 polls, @brianmuddradio in ‘19) @realDonaldTrump is saying that @tatereeves would have encountered “a tie” if not for his intervention. What does that say about the state of play?
Bottom Line: In the ever-growing effort to nationalize and overstate the implications of state elections, it’s easy to oversimplify what’s at play in these elections. It was always the case that whatever happened on Tuesday would be exaggerated by whichever side felt they fared best. It was a mixed bag of election results. Good for Republicans in Mississippi, good for Democrats in Virgina, mixed in Kentucky – but with the governor’s race in Kentucky narrowly breaking for the Democrat, a general view that Democrats fared better than not on Tuesday. Now, with Republicans winning two other statewide races in Kentucky by 20 and 15 points it’s evident that the issue for voters with their governor wasn’t his political party but policy. And that takes me to this point. Trivia question for you. Based on Morning Consult’s rolling governor approval ratings who are the three most popular governors in the country?
- Charlie Baker – Republican, Massachusetts
- Larry Hogan – Republican, Maryland
- Phil Scott – Republican, Vermont
Now, to most people trying to read geopolitics into the Kentucky governor’s race, you’d probably be shocked to know that those three states even have Republican governors, let alone their popularity in their states. Not only are all three deep blue states, but using the same Gallup data you’re using, Massachusetts and Vermont are the two most liberal states in the country (Maryland’s 9th). Incidentally, which governor happens to have the lowest approval rating in the country? None other than Kentucky’s Matt Bevin.
You need look no further than our own state to realize that Presidential politics often differs from state and local elections. Florida voted for Obama twice for President while we haven’t had a Democrat as governor in over 20 years. Additionally, Democrats haven’t had majority in state government since 1992. These facts don’t make Florida any less of a Presidential swing state.
People tend to see what they want to see in elections rather than what’s real. As a student of history and presidential politics, there’s nothing historically predictive about next year’s Presidential election cycle that can be inferred based on what happened Tuesday.