A national poll gauging Americans’ approval of their governors finds Rhode Island’s Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo with 46% approval and 39% disapproval. That puts her at 40th on the list. (Massachusetts’s Republican Governor Charlie Baker is at the top, with 74% approval and 14% disapproval.)
The response that Raimondo’s spokeswoman, Marie Aberger, provided to Ian Donnis for his Friday column is worth a look, too. To substantiate the claim that “the numbers make it clear that we’re moving in the right direction,” Aberger mainly cites government initiatives, like additional subsidies for college and an energy tax break for businesses. Whether good or bad, whether those policies will have positive effects (or sufficient effects to make a difference) remains to be seen. The only number that could be called evidence of improvement is that “Rhode Island has driven its unemployment rate down 25.3 percent from this time a year ago,” which is a questionable thing to highlight.
I’ll be putting up my monthly employment posts on Monday (here’s the last one), but one quick takeaway is that the amount of employment dropped again, in October, yet the unemployment rate continued to decrease because even more people stopped looking for work. If I’m correct that we can expect much of the employment gains of the first half of the year to be revised down substantially in January, then employment is not even arguably a strong point for the state, especially considering that job creation in Rhode Island appears to have slowed to a crawl, this year.
That this one (arguably phony) statistic is all that Rhode Island politicians can raise in their defense shows how badly they’ve botched things, around here, and why Raimondo’s approval is where it is.