You Shouldn’t Need a Scandal to Learn Your Governor’s Name

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Everyone knows the socially responsible thing to do these days is to buy local groceries. Local eggs, local milk, local handmade goods — you name it. It’s good to put that money you’d spend anyway back into your community. But buying local is sometimes more expensive, sometimes it’s out of the way, and sometimes it means going to more than one store to get all your goods — no one-stop superstore shopping.

American’s political knowledge shows an interesting parallel — we don’t buy local when it comes to politics. Most people are in tune with President Barack Obama and major news on the national front, and many are at least somewhat in touch with major players in Congress, Senatorial elections, and major Supreme Court rulings like the recent Hobby Lobby decision. But as FiveThirtyEight so eloquently put it this week, American’s knowledge of and interest in many state’s governors is just sort of “blah” and “meh.” Some are more unheard of than others — many will have heard of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) as a result of the bridgegate scandal. But he was also on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show taking jokes about the whole series of events. That’s not something common to most governors.

FiveThirtyEight suggests the disinterest is due to the fact that many even living in states under governors don’t care about their governors, so it comes as no surprise that citizens in other states don’t have high interest in other state’s gubernatorial leadership. FiveThirtyEight then accumulated old data from 35 states’ polls to see which state governors have earned the least attention, or are “the most ‘meh’ chief executive[s].” They base this on “don’t know, don’t care, refuse” percentage of answers. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) — not shocking if you haven’t heard of him — had one of the highest percentages, at 28 percent.

After him came New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan (D), Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) — who is new to the office — Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R), and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R), all above 17 percent reporting that they don’t care, don’t know, or won’t answer. Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker (R), shows the lowest percentage (3 percent), followed by Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) and Texas Governor Rick Perry (R). FiveThirtyEight couldn’t find polls for quite a few states though, so results should be taken with a grain of incomplete salt. But ultimately, who is “leading in the Most Boring Governor competition” is besides the point.

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