For Arkansas voters, President Barack Obama started with a pretty poor job performance rating and it’s gotten worse.

The Democratic incumbent has seen his job approval steadily erode in his 3 years in office. Obama lost to GOP nominee John McCain 58-38 in 2008.

In a Talk Business-Hendrix College survey of 2,101 Arkansas voters statewide, Obama has less than one-third support for his handling of the Presidency.

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing?

31.5%     Approve
63.5%     Disapprove
5%          Don’t know

That number has fallen from October 2009 when we last polled the President’s job performance. Obama’s rating from that survey showed:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing?

40%   Approve
56%   Disapprove
4%     Don’t Know

"Barack Obama has never been popular in Arkansas," said Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College. "He’s in the low 30′s, two-to-one against. I think the question now becomes to what degree is Barack Obama an obstacle to the Democratic Party down the ticket in Arkansas."

"We’ve got some real evidence that the Democratic brand is in some real trouble in Arkansas and I think Barack Obama is clearly a component of that," Barth said.

He contends that while Republicans will likely do their best to tie Obama to down-ballot Congressional and legislative races, both Democrats and Republicans will have to field respectable candidates to have success. On Monday, Talk Business and Hendrix College released results of Congressional job approval numbers for Arkansas’ four federal representatives.

"The key question is not who will win the state’s electoral votes in 2012, but the degree to which the Obama candidacy will bog down Democrats running lower down the ticket in the battles for Congress and control of the state legislature," Barth said.

You can view more of his comments in the video at the bottom of this post.

GOP PRESIDENTIAL FRONTRUNNERS

Our statewide survey also compared Obama in head-to-head match-ups with the two GOP frontrunners for President, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Q: If the Presidential election were today and your choices were Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Rick Perry, for whom would you vote?

34%     Barack Obama
53%     Rick Perry
13%     Don’t Know

Q: If the Presidential election were today and your choices were Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney, for whom would you vote?

33.5%    Barack Obama
49.5%    Mitt Romney
17%       Don’t Know

Barth added these observations regarding Obama’s standing in Arkansas and in comparison to Perry and Romney:

  • Obama has held support among African-Americans and Latinos, but his standing among other groups is now in toxic territory.
  • While younger voters are disapproving of the President, there is some sign that they come back to him when he faces Republican opponents as he leads Romney (but trails Perry) with those under 30.
  • Rick Perry, who has gained the support of many GOP elected officials in the state, runs slightly better than Mitt Romney against Obama in Arkansas, but either is in solid shape to gain the state’s 6 electoral votes.  
  • Both candidates have strong leads across the state. Democrats are hanging tougher for Obama than are Democrats in some other states (e.g. West Virginia), but the combination of intense Republican opposition to the President and overwhelming independent opposition dooms his outlook in Arkansas.

POLL BACKGROUND & NOTES
The results of this combined poll came from four polls were conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College on Thursday, September 15, 2011. The polls were completed using IVR survey technology among registered Arkansas voters in all 4 of the state’s Congressional Districts. A combined 2,101 Arkansas voters were surveyed in the final results, which have a margin of error of +/-2.1%.

Congressional Districts were weighted evenly at 25%. Voters self-identified their party affiliation in the sample and those results were not weighted. The party ID breaks down:

28%  Republican
29%  Democrat
34%  Independent
9%   Other

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business and Hendrix College.

For interviews, Brock can be reached by email at roby@talkbusiness.net. Barth can be contacted at barth@hendrix.edu.

 

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