Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.
Crew and Weiher. 1996. Gubernatorial popularity in three states: A preliminary model. Social Science Journal 33: 39-54.
Though there have been numerous studies of presidential popularity, there have been few studies of gubernatorial popularity. Those studies that have been performed have focused on gubernatorial elections, as there is a dearth of good data on gubernatorial approval. The authors use time series data in California, and less complete data for Minnesota and Iowa, to take a deeper look at gubernatorial approval. Their findings largely confirm what earlier studies have suggested: Gubernatorial approval is driven by national factors (presidential approval and national economic conditions) more than anything else.
For the California study, the authors use quarterly data spanning just over a decade. The data is not perfect, and they fill in some missing values with averages. Since their analyses of Minnesota and Iowa use similar variables, I will focus on the California case. Variables:
Like previous studies, the authors find that state-level economic conditions have no effect. Voters punish the governor for national trends, and there is a distinct honeymoon effect.
Peltzman (1987) observes that we should use change variables, not objective values. Specifically, why measure the unemployment rate rather than the 'change' in the unemployment rate?
Research on similar subjects