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New approval poll shows high approval of Gordon, Barrasso and Enzi

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Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon
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By Laura Hancock, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon has the fifth-highest approval rating of U.S. governors, according to new polling by Morning Consult, a Washington, D.C.-based media and technology company. 

Furthermore, U.S. Sens. John Barrasso, Wyoming’s junior senator, has the fifth-highest approval rating and Sen. Mike Enzi, the senior senator, enjoys the 7th highest, according to Morning Consult’s approval ratings of all 100 U.S. senators

The Morning Consult poll surveyed nearly 500,000 registered U.S. voters. A total of 649 Wyomingites were surveyed: 323 Republicans, 236 independents and 90 Democrats. 

The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.

Among approval of Gordon, a Republican: 

  • 59 percent approved of his job performance; 9 percent disapproved.
  • In the first quarter of 2019, when he had just begun as Wyoming’s governor, 53 percent approved and 10 percent disapproved. 
  • 33 percent of Wyoming registered voters were undecided in the second quarter, the highest among the 50 governors.

Gordon is still a new governor, noted Jim King, a University of Wyoming political science professor.

“The Legislature’s budget session next year will be more telling,” King said. “Mr. Gordon will lay out his priorities in his budget proposal and will reveal more about his vision for the state. For now, a Republican governor in a Republican state who has had no notable missteps yields a strong poll rating.”

Among approval for the senators, who are also Republicans: 

  • 57 percent approved of Barrasso’s job performance; 26 percent disapproved in the second quarter of 2019.
  • In the first quarter, Barrasso’s approval rating was 56 percent; 26 percent disapproved. In the second quarter of 2018, his approval rating was 52 percent and his disapproval rating was 33 percent. 
  • 54 percent approved of Enzi’s job performance in the second quarter of this year; 25 percent disapproved.
  • In the first quarter, Enzi’s approval rating was 52 percent; 23 percent disapproved. In the first second quarter of 2018, 52 percent approved and 31 percent disapproved. 

“On the senators, there is no real difference in the ratings of Mr. Barrasso and Mr. Enzi once the poll’s margin of error is taken into consideration,” King said. “These numbers on Mr. Barrasso and Mr. Enzi are quite similar to those in other polls (by) this firm and by others.”

Wyoming’s low population may also play into the likability ratings, said Kristin Walker, a GOP strategist.

Chances are high that Cowboy State voters have personally interacted with elected officials. That doesn’t happen everywhere, said Walker, who is working on the U.S. Senate campaign of Cynthia Lummis, who is seeking Enzi’s seat when he retires.

(Lummis’ daughter, Annaliese Wiederspahn, is the publisher of Cowboy State Daily.)

“This means Wyoming’s politicians are forced to keep a close ear to the ground, and when they aren’t meeting voters’ expectations — they are going to hear about it quick,” Walker said. 

Indeed, the Wyoming Democratic Party criticized Barrasso on Twitter last week for not coming criticizing a President Donald Trump rally in which people chanted, “send her back,” in reference to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat. 

Levi Shinkle, chairman of the Young Democrats of Wyoming, noted that Barrasso, the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate, toes the party line. 

“We’re in an overwhelmingly pro-Trump state,” he said. 

Former U.S. Rep. Lummis to seek Senate

in News/politics
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Cynthia Lummis, who served as Wyoming’s lone U.S. representative and state treasurer, will run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, she announced Thursday.

Lummis, who stepped down from Congress in 2017,  said during a news conference she is running for the office now held by U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi to pursue a conservative agenda that will help Wyoming.

“As I’ve been  back here in Wyoming, I’ve been working with Wyoming people and families and businesses and we’ve watched the erosion of some of our traditional independent individual rights,” said the Republican. “It is just appalling what is happening.”

In a separate news release. Lummis said she was worried about liberal lawmakers in Congress and wants to return to Washington, D.C., to oppose their efforts.

“I can’t in good conscience watch from the sidelines as our way of life is threatened by liberal ideologues in D.C.,” she said. “A new crop of socialist lawmakers are waging war on our freedoms.”

Enzi is retiring from the Senate after serving for four terms.Lummis, a Cheyenne native who served as Wyoming’s U.S. representative from 2009 through 2017, said if elected, she plans to stand behind the policies of the administration of President Donald Trump.“We want to build the wall here in Wyoming and fix the broken immigration system,” she said during her news conference. “We want to uphold the Constitution and defend religious liberties and the Second Amendment.”

Policies adopted by past administrations, specifically those of former President Barack Obama, have hurt Wyoming’s industries and economy, Lummis said. “Washington simply can’t seem to keep its nose out of Wyoming’s business,” she said. “The heartbreaking layoffs in Campbell Country are an example of this. People back here in Wyoming are continuing to be devastated by Obama-era policies aimed at regulating our natural resources out of existence.”

Meanwhile, proposals such as the “Green New Deal,” a package of measures proposed by the U.S. House members aimed at curtailing fossil fuel use, would hurt the energy industry in the future, she said.

“This Green New Deal would destroy Wyoming’s energy economy,” she said. “We are the largest exporting state of energy in the nation. And stopping the socialist agenda and the Green New Deal is heavy on my mind.”

In an interview with Cowboy State Daily’s Robert Geha, Lummis also said she supports Trump’s approach to governing. Lummis said she believes the president’s popularity in Wyoming is due to the fact he is outspoken in his opposition to efforts to weaken constitutional rights.

“I thought the typical American and the typical Wyoming person’s reaction to that was that we cannot elect as the next president (someone who) will go along to get along, that is going to be business as usual, that is going to be establishment, we need somebody who is totally different,” she said. “And that’s what we got with President Trump.”

Before serving as a congresswoman, Lummis was elected to two terms as Wyoming’s treasurer, a post she held from 1999 through 2007. Lummis entered politics in Wyoming as a member of the state’s House of Representatives, first from 1979 until 1983 and again from 1985 until 1992. She entered the state Senate in 1993, where she served until 1995.

One Democrat, Laramie’s Yana Ludwig, has announced she intends to seek the open Senate seat. Republican Joshua Wheeler of Casper has launched a website expressing his intention to campaign for the office.

Cynthia Lummis’ daughter, Annaliese Wiederspahn, is the publisher of Cowboy State Daily. She played no role in the production of this story.

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