Gov. Tom Vilsack continues to enjoy a favorable job approval rating from 52 percent of the state's adults, according to a new Iowa Poll. That is down, however, from a rating of 59 percent in May.
The Des Moines Sunday Register poll indicated 35 percent of Iowans disapprove of the Democratic governor's performance and 13 percent were unsure.
The poll - based on phone calls to 803 randomly selected adults - has a margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. It was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines from Sept. 12-16.
Vilsack's latest job approval rating is his second-lowest mark since taking office in January 1999.
In June 2002, while battling for a second term and dogged by budget problems, Vilsack garnered the approval of 48 percent of Iowans. The Democrat's highest approval mark in the Iowa Poll was 73 percent, in August 2000.
The sluggish economy and lingering budget problems could be factors in Vilsack's job approval slide.
The poll shows that 45 percent of Iowans believe the state has gotten off on the wrong track, compared with 43 percent who think it's headed in the right direction. That's a change from May, when optimists outnumbered pessimists, 46 percent to 44 percent.
Seventy-four percent of Democrats endorse Vilsack's job performance, while 51 percent of independents and 32 percent of Republicans feel positively about his effort.
The newspaper reported in a copyright story that Vilsack's use of bonuses to attract state department heads is unpopular with 69 percent of those polled.
"It doesn't seem fair," said poll participant Juanita Cooke, 26, a Democrat from Davenport.
"Why would we pay someone extra to do a job that other people can do at regular pay? Why is it necessary?"