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Politics Notebook: Martinez still among least popular governors

SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez’s approval rating has increased slightly since last fall – from 33 percent to 35 percent – but she is still among the nation’s 10 least popular governors.

That’s according to a national Morning Consult poll released Wednesday that tallied the popularity of all 50 governors.

The Republican governor’s popularity has dipped during her second term, and 54 percent of the registered voters surveyed from April 1 through June 30 said they disapproved of Martinez’s job performance.

The Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to questions about the survey.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin was the least popular governor in the nation, with a 74 percent disapproval rating, the poll found. First-term Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts retained the honor of having the highest approval rating of any governor, with 69 percent.

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s two U.S. senators had higher approval ratings than Martinez, with 46 percent of the voters surveyed saying they approved of Tom Udall’s job performance and 43 percent voicing approval of Martin Heinrich.

Both Udall and Heinrich are Democrats. Heinrich is running for re-election this year. Udall’s current term expires in 2020.

FIGHTING POVERTY: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham will unveil a plan today for combating New Mexico’s chronically high poverty rate.

Some of the provisions of Lujan Grisham’s anti-poverty plan include expanding a tax break for working families, supporting new interest rate caps on payday loans and increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour, and even higher in future years.

New Mexico has long struggled with poverty-related issues, and more than 40 percent of the state’s residents are enrolled in Medicaid, a joint federal-state health care program.

Republican Steve Pearce, Lujan Grisham’s general election opponent, has put forward some of his own ideas about improving the state’s economy.

On Wednesday, Pearce hailed the passage of federal legislation dealing with apprenticeship programs and technical education.

He also said that if elected governor, he would implement programs that increase New Mexico apprenticeship opportunities for students and out-of-work adults.

Dan Boyd: