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Poll: Ivey’s popularity takes a hit after signing near-total abortion ban

Evan Mealins

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Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2019 state of the state address before a joint session of the Alabama Legislature in the Old House Chambers of the Alabama State Capitol on March 5, 2019. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Previously one of the nation’s highest-ranked governors, Gov. Kay Ivey suffered a blow to her approval rating in the second quarter of 2019, according to a new poll. The largest drop in her approval hit after the State Legislature passed a near-total abortion ban, which she subsequently signed.

Ivey’s net approval rating — the difference between the share of voters who approve of the governor’s performance minus those who disapprove — fell by 17 percentage points from her first quarter rating, according to a Morning Consult poll. The poll showed that 57 percent of voters approve of Ivey’s job performance while 29 percent disapprove.  

The largest change was among Democrats, with whom Ivey’s net approval dropped 20 percent, marking a shift of more Democrats currently disapproving than approving. Ivey dropped 15 percent among Republicans and 18 percent among independents.

The poll surveyed Alabama voters from April 1 to June 31.

Ivey signed into law the nation’s most restrictive abortion bill on May 15, and Ivey’s net approval fell dramatically in the time shortly before she signed the bill. In states where similar albeit less restrictive anti-abortion laws were put in place, governors declined in net approval rating: Governors Mike Parson, Brian Kemp and John Bel Edwards dropped three, two and one points respectively.

The results of a Planned Parenthood poll released on May 15, 2019, may also indicate that Ivey’s drop in approval is related to the abortion ban: 65 percent of Alabama voters feel that abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest, which the law does not provide for.

Other issues could also be playing into the drop in Ivey’s approval. The governor in March signed into law a gasoline tax hike earlier this year that will raise fuel prices by 10 cents over three years, which has also stirred up some public opposition, including at least one legal challenge. Ivey and GOP leadership received criticism from both conservatives and Democrats over the gas tax.

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But the governor is by no means unpopular now.

She is still the 12th most highly approved governor in the United States, but she finds herself outside the top 10 for the first time in her incumbency. Her highest approval rating came in the first quarter of 2018 when she was the nation’s third most popular governor.

Her net approval rating had neither decreased nor increased greater than three percentage points prior to the most recent quarter.

 

Evan Mealins is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter and student at Auburn University working toward a B.A. in media studies. You can follow him on Twitter @EvanMealins or email him at [email protected]

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