In the now-reliably red state of Arkansas, President Donald Trump’s job approval rating is taking a hit.
According to the latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey, the nation’s chief executive has gone from a 60%-35% job approval-disapproval rating in February to just 50-47% in July. In April, Trump had a 53%-39% approval rating.
Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Donald Trump is doing?
39% Strongly Approve
11% Somewhat Approve
7% Somewhat Disapprove
40% Strongly Disapprove
3%. No Opinion
The statewide survey was conducted on Thursday, July 20 and had 511 Arkansas voter respondents. The poll has a margin of error of 4.3%.
“As you can tell by the survey results, the President is a polarizing political figure in Arkansas,” said TB&P Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock. “Our latest survey asks a battery of questions that help us understand what elements of Trump’s Presidency are causing some of his declining numbers among the state’s voters.”
One of the most prominent reasons that Arkansans may be souring on the President from earlier in the year is due to his Twitter prowess. Trump often brags that it is his direct and unfiltered line of communication to the public, but Arkansas voters are not approving of the habit.
Q: In general, which of the following best describes how you feel about President Trump’s activity on Twitter?
21% No opinion
Other results that will be released in the coming days include Arkansans’ takes on Trump’s truthfulness, knowledge of affairs, possible campaign coordination with Russia and potential removal from office.
“The results to these other questions do vary, which helps gives insight as to what aspects of his performance may be working or not working for Trump,” Brock added.
Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
While President Donald Trump’s numbers remain decidedly better in Arkansas than across the nation, we have seen a marked increase in Arkansans disapproving of his performance in office since our last survey. In early April, 53% of our respondents approved of his job performance while 39% disapproved. Now, the gap on the President’s performance has closed to 50% approval versus 47% disapproval in a state where he won over 60% of the vote last November.
For this survey, we altered the form of the Trump job approval question to gauge the intensity of support and opposition to the President. What is shown is not just an increase in concerns about Trump’s presidency by Arkansans, but also incredible polarization regarding him —- 39% of our sample strongly approves of Trump’s performance; 40% strongly disapproves. This means that only about one in five Arkansans have any mixed feelings about what is still a very new President.
In examining the crosstabs on Trump’s approve/disapprove numbers, two important trends have emerged.
First, while a massive gender gap showed itself on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, such a gap never emerged in Arkansas. Now, a stark gender gap is showing itself on the President’s performance in the Arkansas electorate. While 49% of men strongly approve of the President’s performance, the same percentage of women strongly disapprove.
Second, the President’s numbers with Republican voters has begun to soften in the state. While two-thirds (67%) of that portion of the electorate strongly approves of Trump’s job performance, his overall approval with GOP voters has dropped 10 points since April. Trump has slightly improved his standing among independent voters as compared to the April survey, however. He holds a 47-33% approval rating among Independent voters who strongly approve versus strongly disapprove of his job performance.
Later in the week, we will release other results from the survey regarding Arkansans’ evaluations of Trump as a leader, but one force likely driving up Trump’s negative numbers is his favorite form of direct communication with the American public: Twitter. A health majority of Arkansans — 56% — dislikes Trump’s style of communication via the social media platform. Trump has defended the practice against critiques that it is “unpresidential” by calling it “modern day presidential.” Like voters across the nation, Arkansans remain dubious.
Among our respondents, the only group of voters to show even plurality support for Trump’s Twitter activity were Republicans. That subgroup only approves of it by a 40%-34% margin. Again, a sharp gender gap is shown regarding Trump’s online activity with women disapproving by a 63%-19% margin, while men disapprove by 48% to 28%.
While the public verdict is clear on Trump’s experimentation with Twitter, he shows no signs of shifting away from the practice as evidenced by his flurry of tweets this weekend.
A partial video interview with Dr. Barth can be found at the bottom of this post.
This survey was conducted on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4.3%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 511 Arkansas voters statewide.
Age and gender were weighted. The results of weighting did not alter the raw data results by more than one percentage point in any direction.
12% Under the age of 30
24% Between the ages of 30 and 44
39% Between the ages of 45 and 64
24% 65 or older
78% Caucasian or White
All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.