Gov. Carney approval rating drops

 Delaware Gov. John Carney celebrates his election victory in November 2016. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Delaware Gov. John Carney celebrates his election victory in November 2016. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

It has not been the smoothest six months for John Carney in the governor’s office, and that’s reflected in the latest poll.

John Carney won 58 percent of the vote against Republican Colin Bonini in last November’s election. However, a poll conducted by Morning Consult found Carney’s approval rating from April through early July stands at 52 percent. Carney’s disapproval number is at 30 percent, while 18 percent of those polled didn’t have an opinion.

In April, the polling firm pinned Carney’s approval rating at 61 percent, while his disapproval number was at just 20 percent. The combined drop in approval and rise in disapproval represents a 19 point swing in favorability.

It’s not exactly clear what is to blame for Carney’s declining numbers, but he’s been faced with a number of challenging circumstances in his first six months in office.

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Just 15 days after his inauguration, inmates took over a building at Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, resulting in the death of a correctional officer. That led to a lawsuit accusing Carney of overruling the warden and delaying a rescue attempt by nearly 18 hours. In April, Carney denied those allegations and told WHYY that when the facts eventually come out, it will be clear that he didn’t intervene and halt a plan to rescue several guards, a counselor and possibly prisoners overtaken by about 100 inmates on February 1.

Last month, state lawmakers were unable to meet the June 30 deadline to approve a balanced budget for the state. That forced the General Assembly to return for an extra day of work on Sunday, July 2. It was the first time that’s happened since the 1970s. The budget increased the real estate transfer tax in addition to the tax on alcohol and tobacco products. Funding for nonprofit groups was cut 20 percent.

As he signed the budget in the early morning hours of July 3, Carney made a point of saying, “I’ve spent the last six years in Washington and I know what doesn’t work.” He added that this was progress towards a better approach to funding government.

The governor was asked if he thought anything could have been done differently. He said he would have to think about it. When asked how he would grade his performance during the session, he gave himself a “B.”

Carney still has support from more than half of state voters, according to the poll. And he’s nowhere near the least popular governor. That title goes to New Jersey’s Chris Christie.

Gov. Christie only received approval from 25 percent of New Jersey voters, while 69 percent disapproved of Christie.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s rating is much more balanced. Wolf’s approval rating is 48 percent, with 37 percent of voters disapproving of his handling of Pennsylvania’s affairs.


CORRECTION: An earlier headline on this story misstated the decline in Carney’s approval rating as down 19 percent. Carney’s approval rating only dropped 9 percentage points. His disapproval rating increased by 10 percentage points. Combined, the change in Carney’s approval was a net 19 point change.

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