The Morgan County Reporter Times has an AP story by Mike Smith entitled “Capitol Eye: Daniels winning no popularity contest.” He describes the boos raining down on Governor Daniels from Conseco Fieldhouse during Reggie Miller as being so loud that Reggie was reported to have told Daniels “Tough crowd.” And, after his heroics at Madison Square Garden, Reggie is a guy who knows about tough crowds.
When asked about the boos the next day, Daniels brushed it off as ”pretty much a tradition,” and said it probably didn’t help that the Pacers were down by 14 at the half. It probably didn’t help, either, that Daniels was behind by 18.
His approval rating in a statewide poll by The Indianapolis Star in March 2005, a few months after he took office, was 55 percent. A year later, this past early March, it had dropped to 37 percent.
The article singles out the Toll Road Privatization, Daylight Saving Time, and the BMV branch closings as major reasons for discontent among citizens for Governor Daniels. The article notes that, while candidate Daniels campaigned on “big change,” the toll road privatization was not part of the publicized game plan. And, while his platform did include a desire for statewide observance of Daylight Saving Time, his stance on time zones, from the campaign to the legislative session and still now “has been all over the map.”
Due largely to that low popularity rating, and arm-twisted votes they cast on behalf of their demanding governor, several House Republicans left on the last night of this past legislative session frowning about their chances of staying in charge of the chamber. Many Democrats left grinning.
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But thousands spoke about Mitch with boos at Conseco Field House, and he sagged in the latest poll. He’s not up for re-election until 2008, and has shrugged all this off.
But Indiana House Republicans aren’t shrugging it off. They’re grinding their teeth, while House Democrats are sharpening theirs.
If the election turns out poorly for Republicans look for them to blame Daniels. The impressive discipline he, and Bosma, have imposed on their members of the House of Representatives might crack next session.