The Kentucky governor's office can be a tough place. Steve Beshear, who was an experienced politician, found the waters choppy early on. He entered office last year confident of his ability to lead and bring about change.
"It won't matter if it's a Republican idea of a Democratic idea, as long as it's a good idea for the Commonwealth," Governor Beshear said last December, on his inauguration day.
But Beshear's administration quickly ran into problems. Among them, a budget shortfall that required him to slash spending, the legislature's rejection of his call for a casino amendment, and seeing a proposal for a cigarette tax increase go up in smoke.
Now, the WKYT Herald-Leader Kentucky Poll, among 600 likely voters, finds Beshear's approval rating at just 39 percent. 55 percent disapprove of the governor's performance so far.
He does have majority appeal among Democrats, but only one in four Republicans approve of his performance, and most independents disapprove.
Joe Gershtenson, director of the Eastern Kentucky University Center For Politics, says early in a governor's tenure is a tough time for popularity to slide.
"That's typically when an incoming governor has the most influence and most ability to push through their proposals," Gershtenson said. "It creates a difficult situation for the governor."
One item driving down Beshear's approval may be this: 58 percent of those questioned say the governor has not fulfilled his campaign pledge to restore integrity to state government, which was a key plank of his campaign.