It appears that past scandals surrounding campaign contributions, UDOT hush money payouts to contractors, and the signing of HB 477 (a bill that would severely restrict citizen access to government documents), and the current scandal in the Utah Attorney General’s office have had little to no effect on the popularity of Utah Governor Gary Herbert, despite Democrats’ attempts to link such scandals to the state’s chief executive.
A recent New York Times article shows that Herbert has an approval rating of 73 percent and a disapproval rating of 20 percent – a net job approval rating of 54 percent. This places Herbert behind Arkansas governor Mike Beebe (D) who has a net approval rating of 57 percent and Wyoming governor Matt Mead (R), who enjoys a net approval of 66 percent.
Seven of the top ten most popular governors are Republicans and hail from states known for being deeply conservative.
During the 2013 legislative session, Herbert gained favor with moderates and liberals by signing into law the more middle-of-the-road legislation that made it through the State House and Senate. Likewise, many hailed his decision to veto HB 76 – Concealed Weapon Carry Amendments.
Herbert became governor in 2009 when then Governor Jon Huntsman left the office early to become Ambassador to China under President Barack Obama. In a 2010 special election, Herbert defeated then Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon by nearly a two-to-one margin. In 2012, Herbert soundly defeated retired Major General Peter Cooke, earning nearly seven out of every ten votes.