Poll: Gibbons' Job Approval Rating Stands at 30 Percent

Gov. Jim Gibbons, under an FBI investigation for his relationship to a defense contractor while he was a congressman, has a 30 percent job approval rating after his first four months in office, according to a poll published Sunday.

The statewide poll conducted for the Reno Gazette-Journal found
that 47 percent disapproved of his performance and 23 percent were
unsure.

The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted April 16 through Wednesday by Research 2000 of Washington, D.C. It has a margin of
error of 4 percentage points either way.

Asked if they could vote again for governor, 39 percent favored
Republican Gibbons and 38 percent backed his Democratic opponent,
Dina Titus - a statistical tie. Gibbons defeated Titus by 4
percentage points last November.

Gibbons sees positive aspects in the poll, said his spokeswoman,
Melissa Subbotin.

"This poll shows that people support Jim Gibbons as governor more than anyone else," Subbotin said. "As this legislative session progresses, Nevadans recognize that the governor they elected continues to fight for their interests."

But state Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said the poll reflects poorly on Gibbons.

"The Nevada public clearly has some questions about the governor's effectiveness," he said.

Reno resident Mike Ross, 60, a Republican, agreed: "I am disappointed in his performance. He's gone from one controversy to another since he's been in office ... As a Republican, I am totally disgusted with it from Bush down to Gibbons."

The poll found that 55 percent think Gibbons' effectiveness has been affected by allegations about his involvement with Nevada defense contractors and 27 percent disagree.

The FBI has opened a corruption investigation into the former five-term congressman's relationship with a defense contractor. A former partner at the company has alleged that Gibbons received money, travel, pokers chips and other favors to help it win government contracts.

Subsequent disclosures that Gibbons' wife, Dawn, was a paid consultant for another defense contractor have raised more questions about her husband's time on the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

Before the election, Gibbons' double-digit lead in the polls vanished after he was accused of assaulting a Las Vegas cocktail waitress in a parking garage and of hiring a Peruvian housekeeper while she was in the country illegally.

Only 17 percent of Democrats approve of Gibbons' job performance
compared with 46 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of non-partisans. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats think his effectiveness has been hampered by the allegations to 41 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents.

The poll also found that only 11 percent think it's appropriate for elected officials to accept trips or gifts from companies that seek contracts from the government and 66 percent disagree.

"What they are saying is that regardless of party, regardless of the individual, it is just wrong for people in government to do this," said Fred Lokken, a Truckee Meadows Community College political science instructor and Republican. "It sends a clear message on ethics."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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