What is going on in the Blue States? SurveyUSA ranks all 50 governors by popularity (hat tip: Kos). The top four most popular are all Republicans: John Hoeven (ND), Jodi Rell (CT), Mike Rounds (SD), and Jon Huntsman (UT). The next four are all Democrats: Joe Manchin (WV), Mark Warner (VA), Dave Freudenthal (WY), and John Lynch (NH).
Of the Republicans, three of the top four are in solid red states, which isn't surprising, and one (Rell) is in a solid blue state. For Democrats, though, none of the popular governors are in solid blue states--Lynch and to a lesser extent Manchin are in swing states and Warner and Freudenthal are clearly in the heart of red.
Indeed, after New Hampshire (which voted Bush in 2000 but Kerry in 2004), the next blue state in line on the list is New Jersey, with Governor Richard Codey clocking in at a whopping 48% approval rating, tying him for 28th place. This isn't to say that there aren't popular Democrats, but they're all in red or swing states--Oklahoma, Montana, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, and North Carolina (plus the four I named above) all have more popular Democratic governors than New Jersey (and all have approval ratings above 50%), and yet not one of them voted Democrat in the election 2004.
Though the problem is more pronounced for Democrats, Republicans see it too. The five least popular governors are all GOPers: Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Matt Blunt (MO), Ernie Fletcher (KY), Frank Murkowski (AK), and Bob Taft (OH), who bottoms the list with an appalling 17% approval rating (I almost think that's a typo). Except for Schwarzenegger, the most "popular" of the five with 36% approvals, all come from states that went red in both 2000 and 2004.
I suppose that to "buck the trend," one must be a very popular Democrat/Republican to get voted into office in a Republican/Democratic state. But that doesn't explain why the locales who have governors matching their theoretical partisan affiliation are so gosh darn unhappy with them.