Robert Bentley resignation shows voters are only willing to put up with so much

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Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation shows that even in a single-party environment, voters are only willing to put up with so much said Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com.

“Bentley is a Republican, and Alabama’s state legislature and electorate are both overwhelmingly Republican,” Enten wrote. “In these uber-partisan times, it can seem like Democrats always back Democrats and Republicans always back Republicans. That didn’t happen in Alabama.”

Bentley resigned as part of a deal that saw him plead guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violations, agree to perform 100 hours of community service and to never hold public office again. The charges stemmed from his alleged use of his office and campaign funds to cover up an extramarital affair.

New Gov. Kay Ivey was sworn into office just hours after the plea deal went public.

Enten’s article points to a Cooperative Congressional Election Study from last year that showed the two-term Republican governor had the lowest approval ratings from voters in his own party of any governor in the country.

That survey found 54 percent of Alabama GOP voters disapproved of the job Bentley was doing, while just 42 percent approved.

Yes, Bentley was more disliked among party faithful than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is going through a spell of historically low popularity after some scandals of his own. He managed a plus-six rating among GOP voters.

In fact, Bentley’s net-negative rating was unique among sitting governors, with the next-closest, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, posting a plus-five rating among Republican voters in that state.

“Partisanship goes a long ways these days. But there are limits,” Enten wrote.

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