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Poll: Pence’s favorability rating still slipping after RFRA

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INDIANAPOLIS (June 17, 2015) - Governor Mike Pence's approval rating keeps going down, according to the latest poll from Bellwether Research and Consulting.

Pence now has a 34 percent favorable rating, while his unfavorable rating has gone up to 43 percent.

Only a third of registered voters say the governor deserves to be re-elected, while 54 percent say it's time to give someone new a chance.

But head-to-head the poll shows Pence tied with Glenda Ritz at 42 percent, while Democrat John Gregg has a one point lead over the governor.

Meantime the poll comes just a day before the governor make his official announcement to launch his campaign for re-election.

“The timing couldn’t be more interesting,” said IndyStar political reporter Tony Cook. “I suspect him and his advisors are talking even now about how to dig him out of this hole.”

“He’s going to have to come out strong,” said IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens in this week’s edition of IN Focus. “He’s going to talk about some positives like HIP 2.0, he’s going to talk about job creation, that sort of thing. I think he needs to acknowledge it and say ‘look I messed up in a big way with RFRA, I heard you, I made a mistake (and) it won’t happen again.”

Pence campaign spokesman Robert Vane issued the following statement Wednesday after the poll's release:

“Governor Pence is focused on his outstanding record of economic growth, education reform, and providing health care for low-income Hoosiers.  And while the insiders will focus on poll numbers, which will inevitably bounce around, he will not.  The governor is focused on governing and getting results.  As far as what kind of campaign he intends to run, he’ll address that tomorrow night.”

On the other side of the aisle, state Democrats also issued a statement Wednesday, from state party chair John Zody:

“Mike Pence can no longer hide from the Hoosiers he ignored when he chose to prioritize his out of touch ideology ahead of the best interests and well-being of Indiana. From opting out of the option to expand early childhood education statewide to putting Indiana in an economic panic after signing RFRA, Mike Pence has only divided the state and caused Indiana to fall behind the rest of the nation. The numbers from this Republican poll show Hoosiers are fed up and know that we can do better than Mike Pence.

Hoosiers Democrats will bring commonsense solutions to help solve today’s problems for hardworking families. Not only will it be priority to add LGBT Hoosiers to the state’s nondiscrimination laws, but Democrats will fight to help unite all families in Indiana. The tough problems will be solved as Democrats will work to grow and protect the economy, education, and overall well-being of all Hoosier families.”

Former Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle commissioned the poll. Oesterle spoke out against RFRA, then stepped down to re-enter the political arena. Oesterle issued the following statement along with the poll's release:

“When I announced my career change to pursue civic activities, my first step was to begin to understand the landscape in Indiana post RFRA and post education session.  As part of that process, I asked Chris Matthews and Bellwether Research to conduct a very comprehensive poll and I wanted to share the results. My goal is to inform the discussion as we prepare for the 2015-2016 legislative session.  It should come as no surprise that I care about a few of these issues.”