Connecticut’s economy is among the ten worst states in the nation, but that is an improvement from three years ago, when the state ranked 49th out of the 50 states. Now the state ranks 42nd in a ranking of overall economic performance by Governing magazine, with results that show a connection between a state's economic performance and its governor's approval ratings. The approval ratings for governors of the top 10 states averaged 62.1 percent, according to the publication, while the gubernatorial approval ratings for those in the bottom 10 averaged 50.8 percent. No governor in the top 10 states had an approval rating lower than 54 percent, while six of the governors in the bottom 10 states had approval ratings below 50 percent and one -- Connecticut's Dannel Malloy, a Democrat -- had an approval rating as low as 29 percent, Governing’s analysis showed.
In 2013, Connecticut’s economy ranked 49th, and Governing said this: “Gov. Dan Malloy is a Democrat in a solidly blue state and has won plaudits for his handling of the Newtown school shooting and for his leadership during several weather emergencies. However, his poll numbers from Quinnipiac University are mediocre -- a 47 percent to 47 percent split in job approval, with only 44 percent of voters saying he deserves re-election, compared to 46 percent who say he does not.” Malloy was re-elected, but his poll numbers have plummeted in the nearly two years since, as Connecticut has remained mired in the nation’s 10 worst performing economies.
The top-ranked state is Massachusetts, where Republican Governor Charlie Baker has an approval rating of 72 percent. Also earning a slot in the top 10 are Oregon, Delaware, Colorado, California, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Utah, Virginia and Maryland, where Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has a 71 percent approval rating.
The worst-ranking state economy is in West Virginia, followed by Alaska, and Wyoming – all states where the Governor has an approval rating exceeding 60 percent. Most others among the bottom 10 states have approval ratings in the 40’s – the lowest by more than 12 points is Malloy’s 29 percent approval rating.
The only Governor in the nation less popular than Malloy is Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, with an approval rate of 26 percent. Michigan’s Rick Snyder (R) at 32 percent, Kentucky’s Matt Bevin (R) at 33 percent, Illinois’ Bruce Rauner (R) at 34 percent and New Jersey’s Chris Cristie ( R) with a 36 percent approval rating are the others at the low end of the survey, conducted by Morning Consult, weighted using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, and published in Governing.
Louisiana, just behind Connecticut at number 46, like other states on the bottom 10 list has been heavily influenced by a decline in the energy sector. In addition to Louisiana, today's bottom 10 includes such energy-dependent states as Alaska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming. In fact, two of these states -- Alaska and West Virginia -- actually ranked in the top 10 in 2013, before the full force of the energy decline was felt, Governing reported.
Among state economies in the Northeast and New England, Massachusetts, Delaware and New Hampshire ranked in the top 10; New Jersey was number 24, Vermont number 25, Maine number 28 and New York number 29. Rhode Island was ranked 35th.