National Poll Says Wyoming’s Mark Gordon Is Second Most Popular Governor

Despite recent criticisms of his trip to Harvard to discuss his efforts to battle climate change, a Morning Consult poll released Monday shows that Gov. Mark Gordon is the second most popular governor in America with an approval rating of 74%.

LW
Leo Wolfson

November 28, 20234 min read

Gov. Mark Gordon and first lady Jennie Gordon.
Gov. Mark Gordon and first lady Jennie Gordon. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

Despite recent criticisms by many Wyoming Republicans for Gov. Mark Gordon lately for his “carbon negative” stance, a recent survey shows Gordon remains popular in the Cowboy State.

That’s according to the results of a Morning Consult Political Intelligence online survey released Monday that finds Gordon to be the second most popular governor in America with an approval rating of 74%. This is the same level of support Gordon had in a similar survey conducted during summer 2022.

A total of 253 registered Wyoming voters participated in the survey that has a margin of error of plus or minus 6%.

The survey was conducted between Aug. 1 and Oct. 30. This was almost completely prior to a public dust-up over comments Gordon made at Harvard University about a month ago that drew the ire of many state lawmakers for saying that Wyoming is committed to becoming “carbon negative” and combating climate change and that carbon monoxide is a contributor to the challenge.

Throughout his nearly five years in office, Gordon has consistently been one of the most popular governors in the nation, according to national polls. His popularity has increased since 2019, when a Morning Consult poll at the time showed he had a 69% approval rating.

Overall, 16% of responders in the most recent survey said they don’t approve of Gordon, while 10% said they don’t know or have no opinion about his job performance. Similarly, Gordon’s disapproval rating also is the second lowest in the nation.

How Does He Do It?

State Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, said Gordon has maintained his popularity by taking a “common sense” and “rational” approach to politics.

“When you’re listening to the extremes on both sides, somewhere in the middle is where reality usually lies,” Harshman said.

He also credits Gordon for helping navigate the state out of some tough economic times and into a stronger position for the near future.

Rep. Steve Heiner, R-Green River, was one of 30 legislators who signed a letter opposing the comments Gordon made at Harvard and inviting him to participate in a debate over his carbon policies.

Although Heiner doesn’t agree with Gordon on every issue, he complimented the governor for keeping lines of communication open to all who want to work with him.

Heiner said governors and politicians that don’t keep an open-door policy are generally viewed less favorably, no matter their policies.

“He just brings a human touch,” Heiner said. “In politics, you’re never going to agree on everything, even with your friends.”

Not Everyone’s A Fan

Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, said the results of the Morning Consult survey are not consistent with how his constituents in Platte County feel about Gordon.

“They are concerned in the wake of decisions being made on his long-lasting efforts toward carbon sequestration that will have a negative effect on Wyoming’s legacy industries like coal,” Haroldon said.

Gordon has consistently espoused an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that equally supports Wyoming’s legacy industries like oil and coal and new forms of green energy like wind, solar and carbon sequestration.

He has particularly advocated for carbon capture and sequestration, efforts he believes can significantly reduce Wyoming’s carbon footprint.

Wheatland is host to the Laramie River Station, a coal-fired power plant Haroldson said would likely shut down if it were forced to engage in carbon capture and sequestration activities.

“All-of-the-above is not all-of-the-above in the long run,” Haroldson said.

Most Of Top 10 Are GOP Governors

Gordon coasted to a second term in his 2022 reelection, beating his Democratic challenger by nearly 60% of the vote and his leading Republican primary opponent Brent Bien by a 32-point margin.

Although he tied for the most popular governor in 2022, Gordon lost the top spot on this go-around to Vermont Republican governor Phil Scott, who has an 84% popularity rate, notable considering that Vermont is a Democratic leaning state.

Seven of the 10 most popular governors in America are Republican.

The Rocky Mountain and Western Plains regions appear particularly appreciative of their governors, as South Dakota, Colorado and Utah’s governors also are in the top 10 for highest approval ratings.

Iowa Republican Kim Reynolds is considered the least popular governor in the nation with a disapproval rating of 48%. Seven of the top 10 least popular governors are Democrats, but only two governors have an approval rating equal or lower to their disapproval rating.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter