By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Gov. Robert Bentley is fond of saying, “ I love the people of Alabama and they love me.” But, this Bentley oft-repeated declaration rings hollow, given new polling that shows the people who he claims love him, has dwindled to a paltry 35 percent.
Morning Consult surveyed 71,900 registered voters in all 50 states from early May 2016, through early September 2016, for a state by state analysis of the nation’s governors. Survey respondents were asked whether they approved or disapproved of their governor’s job performance. Bentley ranks as the country’s eighth least popular governor.
Republican Bentley saw a significant drop in his approval rating beginning earlier this year. He moved from a 1-point net approval rating among State residents to a staggering 18-point deficit among voters who have a favorable view of him (35 percent) and those who have an unfavorable view (53 percent).
No doubt Bentley’s unfavorability ratings are tied to revelations concerning an alleged, non-physical affair with his consort, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, also his former Special Advisor.
In March, Mason resigned from her position saying she was going to focus her time on her children and husband. “My only plans are to focus my full attention on my precious children and my husband, who I love dearly.” However, she continues to be Bentley’s chief consultant and intimate confidant.
According to Capital staffers, Mason is regularly ferried into the Governor’s suite using the “Wallace” tunnel and elevator, that opens directly into the Governor’s workspace. Mason’s husband Jon, still holds a six-figure government job as part of Bentley’s faith-based initiative.
Bentley is surrounded by young staffers. Mason demands they isolate him from the truth of his unpopularity. Several former advisors and friends say Bentley lives in a bubble of hubris and denial, primarily created by Mason.
Bentley recently testified before a Montgomery Special Grand Jury, conducted by Matt Hart, Divison Chief of the States Attorney Generals Office. Bentley’s staff is spinning his two-hour-plus grilling before the Grand Jury. They say that the Governor was merely laying the groundwork for an indictment of Spencer Collier, Alabama’s former Top law enforcement officer, who Bentley fired for cooperating with Hart in the Hubbard case.
If Bentley and staff believe that, they are suffering the after-effects of a peyote ritual.
Morning Consult’s findings mirror recent private polls conducted in the State, that show Bentley underwater and sinking daily.
As part of its methodology, Morning Consult will obtain population parameters for registered voters, in this case, from the November 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS). With this data in hand, the pollsters applied post-stratification weights based on gender, age, educational attainment and race. Morning Consult found that the median state includes a total of 1096 respondents, the state with the most respondents is California (n = 56,284) and the state with the least respondents is Wyoming (n = 127).
Morning Consult is a media and technology company at the intersection of politics, policy, Wall Street and business strategy.