McDonnell Approval Ratings Tumble Following Gift Scandal

Image: McDonnell Approval Ratings Tumble Following Gift Scandal

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 03:22 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The approval rating of Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell has plummeted to a new low following an embarrassing gifts scandal that has plagued the Old Dominion State's top Republican lawmaker.

Only 46 percent of registered voters now approve of the job McDonnell is doing, while 37 percent disapprove, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.

Two months ago, McDonnell had a 49 percent approval rating in another Quinnipiac poll and was once considered one of Virginia's most popular lawmakers.

The poll also revealed that voters believe 44 percent to 36 percent that McDonnell remains honest and trustworthy. Only 16 percent of voters, most of whom are Democrats, think he should resign.

"The lofty levels of 2-1 job approval that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell once enjoyed have slipped away with six months left in his term," Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said. "He's under 50 percent for the second poll in a row."

The reason for the declining number is largely due to the publicity surrounding his relationship with a campaign donor and other problems.

McDonnell is under scrutiny for tens of thousands of dollars in cash gifts allegedly given to him and his family by Jonnie Williams Sr., the CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific.

The payments were made as "McDonnell and his wife took steps to promote the donor's company and its products," the Washington Post has reported.

McDonnell’s children have also had their share of troubles.

Earlier this month, McDonnell's 21-year-old son Sean was charged with public intoxication.

The arrest came a day after the governor reimbursed the state about $2,400 for food and other items Sean, his twin brother Bobby, and their sister Rachel, removed from the governor's mansion to take to their college dorms.

"Almost 80 percent of voters are aware of the controversy and seem to be somewhat concerned," Brown said. "The bottom line seems to be that they view him as just another politician, but at this point they are not clamoring for his scalp."

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