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Freudenthal Leaves Office Very Popular with Citizens

January 4, 2011

Gov. Dave Freudenthal ends his term with a favorable rating among Wyoming residents, according to a recent University of Wyoming poll.

Survey participants were asked to rate the performance of various public officials as excellent, good, fair or poor. Two-thirds of those interviewed rated Freudenthal's performance as excellent or good while only 28 rated his performance as fair or poor. The governor received similar ratings by Wyoming residents in polls conducted in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

"There are two interesting aspects of the governor's approval ratings," said Jim King, a professor of political science at UW and the poll's director. "The first is the consistency over time. The second is that there is relatively little difference in how Democrats and Republicans view his performance."  

In the recent poll, 80 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of Republicans rated the governor's performance favorably.

Wyoming's two U.S. senators also are viewed favorably by their constituents. Sen. Mike Enzi and Sen. John Barrasso each received excellent or good ratings on their job performance from 62 percent of survey respondents.

State opinion on U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis was divided, with 43 percent rating her performance favorably and 43 percent rating her performance unfavorably. According to King, the lower ratings of Wyoming's lone U.S. representative is a regular characteristic of public opinion in the state as the U.S. representative typically gets less attention in the news media and therefore is not as well known.

The statewide telephone survey of 705 Wyoming citizens was conducted in October by UW's Survey Research Center. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent. Biennial surveys of Wyoming residents have been conducted by the Department of Political Science since 1972. The questions focus on attitudes concerning elected officials, government performance, contemporary policy issues, and candidates for office.

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