ST. PAUL (AP) -- Most Minnesotans think Gov. Jesse Ventura's decision to not seek a second term in office is a "good thing" for the state, according to a statewide poll released Thursday.
The Star Tribune Minnesota Poll also says Ventura's approval ratings are continuing to sink. The poll says 52 percent of Minnesotans disapprove of how Ventura is handling his job -- his worst rating since taking office. Forty-four percent approve of his performance.
In July 1999, 73 percent of Minnesotans gave Ventura good marks for his job performance, the best showing of any Minnesota governor measured by the poll since 1947.
Three years later:
"I think he desecrated the office," said Jeff Herpers, 61, a poll respondent from Minnetonka. "The office of governor is the highest position in the state of Minnesota. We've got a fellow who doesn't respect it. Wearing jeans, talking tough, refusing to talk to reporters at times, acting like a bully -- that's not a governor's position."
The poll found that almost two-thirds of respondents said Ventura's bowing out is good for the state, while 22 percent said it's "a bad thing."
Ventura announced his decision last week, saying his heart was no longer in the job and his family needed its privacy. The announcement followed reports that his 22-year-old son, Tyrel, threw parties at the Governor's Mansion while taxpayers footed the cleanup bills.
Seventy-five percent of respondents said it's good for his family that he isn't running, while 4 percent said it was bad for his family.
The poll of 812 adults statewide was conducted from last June 20 through Monday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Herpers, a retired mechanical engineer, gave Ventura mixed reviews on job performance.
"He's given us money back, which makes everyone feel good. But we have road problems, congestion. Then we have schools that aren't getting the money for education," he said.
There are some who want Ventura back.
"I think he's done a real good job," retired airline pilot Robert Westerberg, of La Crescent, said. "He seems to be halfway honest. Our politicians have been talking through both sides of their mouth. He seems to be telling it like it is."
The poll also asked how fair the state's news media, a group Ventura has constantly battled with, have been to the Independence governor.
Most Minnesotans said the coverage has been fair (59 percent), though a large minority (36 percent) disagreed.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.