Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican who is term-limited but a likely vice presidential contender, plans to air “positive” TV ads in the coming weeks as he looks to bolster his approval ratings and remind viewers of Virginia’s successes following a spate of bad publicity.
McDonnell’s political action committee, Opportunity Virginia, will pay for the ads, according to three officials with knowledge of the ads but not authorized to speak for the governor. As of Tuesday, the ads not been filmed and TV air time had not been reserved.
McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is one of the most popular governors in the nation, but his approval ratings have gone down in recent months as the General Assembly failed to approve a state budget and passed a bill that requires women to undergo ultrasounds before abortions.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin declined to comment. Phil Cox, the governor’s top political adviser, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Republicans made headlines when they started airing TV ads last month for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), whose approval ratings are in the 30s. He can run for re-election in 2014, though has not announced whether he will.
In March, 53 percent of voters approved of McDonnell’s job performance, down five points from Feb. 9, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released. Thirty-two percent of voters disapproved.
That was the lowest rating for McDonnell since the independent Quinnipiac began Virginia surveys in June 2011.
“The controversy over the ultrasound and handgun bills would be a logical explanation for the decline in his approval rating, which had been above 60 percent for much of last year,’’ Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said at the time.