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About half of Hoosiers approve of Gov. Eric Holcomb's job performance in latest Hoosier Survey

Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb smiles as he speaks with someone at an outdoor event. Holcomb is a White man with light gray hair and beard, wearing glasses and a button-down shirt.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
About 49 percent of people in the Indiana Public Broadcasting/Ball State Hoosier Survey approve of Gov. Eric Holcomb's job performance, while just 35 percent disapprove.

About half of Hoosiers in a new poll approve of the job Eric Holcomb is doing as governor.

Those are results from the Indiana Public Broadcasting/Ball State Hoosier Survey.

There’s been a lot of rhetoric around dissatisfaction with the governor, particularly from his own party – mostly related to COVID-19 measures, including the Stay-At-Home order and urging people to wear masks and get vaccinated.

But after being re-elected by a wide margin in 2020, Holcomb is still fairly popular. About 49 percent of people in the Hoosier Survey approve of his job performance, while just 35 percent disapprove.

Bowen Center for Public Affairs Director Chad Kinsella noted that about 17 percent didn’t know Holcomb or had no opinion of him – something he said isn’t unusual for a governor.

“That’s not an Indiana thing – that’s a national problem,” Kinsella said.

Why would this matter to Holcomb, who’s term-limited from running for governor again in 2024? There’s speculation he could run for the U.S. Senate.

“If he elects to run for the Senate in 2024, it is more likely that the race, especially for him, will be won or lost in the primary,” Kinsella said.

In the poll, 65 percent of Republicans gave Holcomb’s job performance a thumbs up, with just 22 percent disapproving.

One of the biggest surprises in the latest survey is that the state legislature’s approval rating is better than expected.

READ MORE: Views on abortion can be hard to determine via polling, expert says

About 43 percent of people polled approve of the Indiana legislature’s performance. Compare that to 44 percent who don’t – Kinsella said that’s an unusually strong approval rating for any legislature.

“That was also very surprising given all of the discussion that came out of this summer about the state legislature and especially the polling numbers on abortion," Kinsella said. "That was unexpected. Very unexpected.”

Far less surprising is President Joe Biden’s approval rating in Indiana – just 35 percent approve, with 58 percent disapproving.

“Indiana is not Joe Biden territory,” Kinsella said.

The Hoosier Survey polled 600 people in late October and early November. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The interviews were conducted by telephone (42 by landline and 257 by cell phone) and online.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.