Surprise, surprise: The most recent polling from Talk Business and Hendrix College finds approval ratings for President Trump among Arkansas Republicans remains at sky-high levels.
In a recent survey of 676 likely GOP primary voters, the pollsters found 86 percent said they approved of Trump’s job performance. Only 10 percent said they did not, and 4 percent said they didn’t know.
Hendrix political science professor Jay Barth — who is a columnist for the Arkansas Times — noted the poll results did not show a gender gap. “Both men and women in our sample had nearly identical levels of support for the President, contrary to some national numbers showing more wariness about the President among women, including Republican women,” he wrote. He also remains extraordinarily popular among churchgoing voters.
It’s important to emphasize that this is a poll of likely Republican primary voters, not the general electorate. I have no doubt a poll of all likely voters in Arkansas (or of all Arkansans) would still show high approval ratings for Trump — but not so high as 86 percent. Only about a third of Arkansan voters are affiliated with the GOP.
The 2017 Arkansas Poll from the U of A’s Janine Parry showed about 32 percent of likely voters identified as Republican, 25 percent as Democrat and 35 percent as Independent. In the press release accompanying the publication of those poll results, Parry noted that her numbers showed a “modest shift” in the proportion of Independents who said they lean closer to
“I’m unconvinced either party should get too worked up about this,” said Parry, “But it does mark a reversal from the dramatic move to the right we’ve seen among Arkansas independents since 2010, a move that has flipped election outcomes upside down. So, it’s something to watch as we approach the next big round of state elections in 2018.”
Worth noting, too, that the president’s approval ratings nationally were lower in October (when the 2017 Arkansas Poll was performed) than they are today. If any of the “modest shift” described by Parry was driven by Trump fatigue, support for the GOP among Arkansas independents may have since rebounded.
In any case, I would expect Trump’s support among Independents in Arkansas remains extremely high, but it’d be interesting to see some polling that targets that group specifically.