Three Reasons Why Gov. Sununu’s Numbers are So Strong

The nation’s governors have the unenviable responsibility of managing their states’ COVID-19 responses and telling their residents “you can’t do that” until things settle down and we can reopen. Despite some protests, those governors have received pretty high marks for their performances. Eighty-five percent of Ohioans approve of the way Gov. Mike DeWine has handled his state’s response. Eighty-four percent of New Yorkers approve of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the crisis.

Perhaps no Governor has seen more support for his management of this crisis than New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu. A new University of New Hampshire Granite State Panel survey shows an eye-popping 89% approve of his handling of the coronavirus situation.

Many of us don’t even have approval numbers that high in our own households.

Here are three reasons why Sununu’s numbers are so strong.

Built-in goodwill. Look at Sununu’s numbers before the crisis hit. He already had the approval of 73% of New Hampshire residents. When things go south, people look for a leader. Granite Staters believed they already had one. Sununu’s steady hand only served to reinforce what people already thought of his performance in office.

Deliberative, rather than ‘decisive’ leadership. In this age of instant gratification and split-second news cycles, the media often look for – and reward – so-called “decisive” leadership. Too often, however, what appears to be “decisive” is actually either radical or reactionary. The truth is, this COVID-19 situation is uncharted territory for America’s leaders, and calls for deliberative leadership, rather than decisive leadership. Governor Sununu waited to see how other states rolled out their social distancing policies and shutdown orders. He neither dismissed nor overhyped the problem. Instead he calmly took in the information he had available and initiated appropriate action.

Not even trying to score points. Look, there’s a time for politics. This ain’t it. But no one seems to have shared the memo with Sununu’s political opponents. The Democratic Governors Association released an ad attempting to brand COVID-19 as the “Sununu Flu.” That didn’t go over well. Lawmakers sued Sununu over control of federal grant money … Sununu won. Voters appropriately see Sununu as just doing his job and not playing political games.

Article by: Patrick Hynes

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