A poll released Tuesday ranked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder as the 4th most unpopular governor in the nation.
But there was a little good news to go with the gloom for Snyder, Michigan's Republican governor since 2011. His numbers have improved significantly since September, when Morning Consult, a media and technology company based in Washington, D.C., last released a survey of American voters.
The poll also found that U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, was tied for 6th among U.S. senators with the highest disapproval ratings — a finding that could cheer Republicans as they look for a candidate to challenge the three-term senator in 2018. But Stabenow's relatively high disapproval rating of 38% was offset somewhat by her respectable approval rating of 47%.
Snyder's 54% disapproval rating was fourth worst in the nation after New Jersey Republican Chris Christie (71%), Kansas Republican Sam Brownback (66%), and Connecticut Democrat Dan Malloy (66%).
Snyder's approval rating — which cratered in 2015 over his handling of the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water — was 40%, the poll found.
Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said "the numbers that we are focused on are the number of private sector jobs created since Gov. Snyder took office – half a million – and the statewide unemployment rate." Those numbers, she said, are "the best barometer of how his job performance has improved the entire state of Michigan during the past six years.
By comparison, the Morning Consult's September poll also ranked Snyder fourth-worst, though at that time he had a 61% disapproval rating and his approval was only at 33%.
The numbers were compiled through surveys of more than 85,000 registered voters between January 2017 through March 2017. The margins of error vary by state. According to Morning Consult, the margin of error was plus or minus 1% for the Michigan results.
The nation's most popular governor was Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, with a 75% approval rating.
The most popular U.S. senator was Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, who also had 75% approval.
Snyder is completing his second four-year term and can't run again because of constitutional term limits.
Only five U.S. senators had disapproval ratings that were higher than Stabenow's — Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (47%); Arizona Republican John McCain (43%); South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham (40%); Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski (40%); and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill (39%).
Stabenow's numbers have worsened since September, when she had 48% approval and 34% disapproval.
Matt Williams, a Stabenow spokesman, declined comment.
Michigan's junior senator, Democrat Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township, had relatively low approval numbers, at 39%, but also low disapproval numbers, at 27%, the poll found.
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Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.