What the new Republican governors have in common

WHAT THE NEW REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS HAVE IN COMMON…. Riding a wave of popular sentiment, Republican gubernatorial candidates scored big wins in some of the nation’s largest and most competitive states. When the dust settled on the 2010 cycle, the GOP had picked up governors’ offices they had lost in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Sure enough, all of these far-right governors immediately got to work advancing a very conservative agenda. And after a few months, what do these guys have in common? Voters are finding they may not like Republican rule after all.

Take Pennsylvania, for example.

A new poll suggests a rift has opened between Gov. Corbett and many Pennsylvanians when it comes to taxing and spending.

The survey, by Franklin and Marshall College, found six in 10 residents support a tax on natural-gas drillers. An even larger majority — nearly eight in 10 — opposes deep cuts to public education.

Both positions run counter to the Republican governor’s stances…. Asked to rate his overall job performance, 31 percent said good or excellent, 39 percent said fair, and 13 said poor; 18 percent were undecided.

That’s not a straight-up approval rating in the traditional sense, but it appears that Pennsylvania’s new Republican governor — the one who’s desperate to make brutal cuts to education, while increasing spending on prisons — hasn’t exactly impressed his constituents.

This seems to be coming up quite a bit lately. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich (R) has seen his support plummet in recent months, and polls in Wisconsin have shown widespread opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) agenda. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) was increasingly unpopular before his latest radical moves, and while I haven’t seen any polling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), there’s ample evidence he’s managing to offend just about everyone.

Will this prove relevant in 2012? Time will tell, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Republicans scored big wins in 2010, not because the GOP was popular, but because much of the public was dissatisfied with the status quo, and Dems happened to be the dominant majority.

But now those same voters have been reminded exactly why they didn’t like Republicans in the first place. The likelihood of this helping Democrats next year seems high.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.