The numbers that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and his team have been waiting for are out: His job approval ratings since the Flint water crisis became a national scandal.
As we expected, they're not good.
But depending on how you want to read things, they could be worse. It looks like Michigan residents aren't happy with their governor after the Flint crisis, but they're going to let him fight another day to fix it.
EPIC-MRA, a Lansing, Mich., polling company, found that 69 percent of Michigan voters disapprove of the way the governor has handled the Flint water crisis, according to the Detroit Free Press. The crisis has apparently dragged down the governor's job approval ratings as well. Just 39 percent of voters approve of Snyder's job as governor -- a significant drop from his 45 percent approval rating in August.
Polling head Bernie Porn told The Detroit Free Press those dismal ratings are pretty even across partisan divides, which is even more bad news for the governor, struggling to regain people's trust after residents in the hard-scrabble city of Flint were pumped tainted water for nearly 18 months, their concerns apparently going unheard.
Since the abnormal volume of lead in Flint children's and infants' blood came to light this fall, Snyder has tried to make amends. He apologized twice, most recently at January's State of the State address. He released almost 300 pages of his emails related to Flint. He's shopping for federal and state money to help with the crisis, holding regular news conferences and asking the federal government to expand Medicaid to everyone in Flint under age 21.
That all hasn't been enough, though, to appease Michigan residents who still have questions about what Snyder and his top aides knew about Flint and when. We detailed this week how residents of Flint are showing signs that they're increasingly distrustful of anyone and anything having to do with the government -- which helps explain why Snyder announced Wednesday that the Virginia Tech researcher who helped uncover the water crisis has been appointed to a task force to report on what went wrong.
In short, it's been a tough few months for Snyder, and these job approval numbers tell the story.
Still, his team has to be relieved with the third big number in the poll: 61 percent. That's how many people think Snyder should stay in office despite Flint.
Snyder's office indicated they expected these low numbers.
"We understand that people are angry," Snyder spokesman Dave Murray told the Free Press's Paul Egan. "This crisis was the result of a failure of government at all levels -- state, local and federal."
Murray added that "Snyder now is focused on addressing the problems and making sure that the people of Flint get the help they need now and into the future."
It sounds like even though Michigan residents aren't happy with Snyder right now, they're going to give him a chance to do just that: Make things right.