Hawaii voters have been disillusioned with Gov. David Ige’s job performance for some time, but a new national survey suggests Ige’s public approval ratings have hit rock bottom.
The financial news website 247wallst.com on Wednesday released a nationwide comparison of governor’s poll numbers that showed Ige is tied for the least popular governor in the nation. The data was based on poll numbers collected in the last quarter of last year by the research company Morning Consult.
Ige tied with Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut for the lowest approval rating, at 32%.
That data appears to generally line up with poll data published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last September that found just 35 percent of Hawaii voters approved of Ige’s job performance at the time.
The poll data from both surveys was collected at a time when Ige was the target of some ferocious criticism over the handling of the protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope. Opponents of the project camped on the Mauna Kea Access Road in an effort to block construction of the project on a mountain that many Hawaiians consider to be sacred.
Many outspoken supporters of TMT believed the road should have been quickly re-opened using mass arrests if necessary to allow construction to proceed. Instead, Ige stood back and allowed Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim lead the effort to resolve the impasse.
The opponents of TMT, meanwhile, were angry that Ige supported construction of the $1.4 billion telescope in the first place. The Star-Advertiser poll data found Ige was least popular among Native Hawaiians.
The TMT project remains stalled today, and the drawn-out controversy and Ige’s handling of the controversy almost surely contributed to the governor’s low public approval ratings.
Ige was re-elected to a second four-year term as governor in 2018, and cannot run for re-election.
The most popular state chief executives in the 247wallst. survey were Republican Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming; Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland; and Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who each had approval ratings of 69%.