Poll: Hutchinson has commanding lead, Trump job approval at 52%

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 2,986 views 

For the titular heads of the state and national Republican Party, Arkansas is fertile ground. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has a commanding lead over his Democratic rival, newcomer Jared Henderson, and President Donald Trump is winning Arkansas voters for his job performance.

The latest poll results from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College includes a statewide survey of 1,701 likely voters for the November general election. The poll, which was conducted Sept. 5-7, 2018, has a margin of error of +/-2.4.

“Gov. Hutchinson has maintained immense popularity throughout his first term as governor and this poll reflects voters’ approval of his performance,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics editor-in-chief. “President Trump’s numbers have bounced around in Arkansas, but he has largely bucked the national trend by keeping a more favorable job approval rating. These latest numbers could help Republicans down-ballot in tight races as mid-terms are largely about pulling base voters to the polls.”

Voters across all four Congressional Districts were asked:

Q. In the race for Governor, the candidates are Libertarian Mark West, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, and Democrat Jared K. Henderson. If the election for Governor were today, which candidate would you support?

6%    Mark West
60%  Governor Asa Hutchinson
25%  Jared K. Henderson
9%    Undecided

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Donald Trump is doing?

52%   Approve
39%   Disapprove
9%     Don’t Know

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 Donald Trump’s approval ratings nationally have shifted a bit lower in recent weeks, in Arkansas our statewide sample shows that he continues to be above water. While not as popular as at the time of his election in November 2016, just over half of Arkansans continue to approve of his performance in office. An examination of the attitudes of subgroups of Arkansas voters shows that Trump’s performance is presently seen positively by most. Although those above 45 are more likely to approve of his performance, he is favorably perceived by all age groups.

“While a gender gap shows itself with men much more favorable (as has been the case across the time of Trump’s political life), a plurality of women also view him favorably. He is doing well in all regions of the state, although he is viewed decidedly more positively in the rural parts of the state (the First and Fourth Congressional Districts) than in the Second and Third Districts.

“While partisans split as expected on Trump, Independents now skew in his favor. In a survey on Trump’s job approval last October a slight plurality of that political group were negative towards his work. Finally, there is a racial divide on Trump; voters of color (African-Americans, Latinx voters, and Asian-Americans) all see his performance unfavorably, although black voters in Arkansas are more favorable towards him that is that group nationally.

“The Republican skew of the state, shown in the views on President Trump, also show
themselves in the race for Governor where incumbent GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson holds a
comfortable lead over Democratic nominee Jared Henderson. Hutchinson has coalesced GOP
support (87% of the state’s Republicans support him), has a strong lead with Independents
(58%), and is even gaining about one in five Democratic votes.

“Looking at demographics, Hutchinson has cut into the Democratic African-American base; with that group, Henderson leads only 43%-32%. Hutchinson has majorities of men and women and of all age groups, although he runs particularly well among older voters. Finally, the Governor runs well in all quadrants of the state, with a majority in all congressional districts including holding a nearly two-to-one lead in the more Democratic Second Congressional District.

“Barring a cataclysmic event, it does appear that Arkansans are ready to allow another governor to serve out a second full term.”

Robert Coon, managing partner with Impact Management Group, also helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

“At 60%, Governor Asa Hutchinson is cruising comfortably towards re-election on November 6th. Hutchinson leads among all age groups and in all four congressional districts. His GOP base has solidified since the primary with 86.9% of Republicans supporting him on the ballot test, while he leads Democratic challenger Jared Henderson by more than 2-to-1 among Independent voters (58.4% to 23.1%). Notably, Hutchinson is drawing 21.5% support from Democrats and 32.3% support from African American voters. With a significant fundraising advantage heading into the final weeks of the campaign, Hutchinson should exceed his 2014 mark of 55%.”

“The Talk Business-Hendrix College survey of GOP Primary voters in April showed President Donald Trump with high favorability among Republicans (86%), but it’s a different story with the broader electorate in this survey. Among likely general election voters, Trump’s approval is much lower, primarily driven downward by low approval among Democrats and weaker support from females and younger voters. Voters 45-64 and 65+ approve of the President at levels greater than 50%, while voters 18-29 and 30-44 approve at 45.6% and 47.2% respectively. Male voters approve of President Trump by a wide margin (59.3% to 33.2%), while approval is lower and disapproval higher among female voters (46.1% to 43.6%). Trump’s approval is strongest in CD1 (56%) and CD4 (55%), dips in CD3 (50.3%) and is the lowest CD2 (46.8%), all of which correspond to congressional race results in each of those districts.”

This survey was conducted by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College on Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 5-7, 2018. It is the combination of four Congressional District polls and has a margin of error of +/-2.4%. The poll was completed using IVR survey technology and live cell phone respondents among 1,701 likely voters in Arkansas. Only respondents who positively identified that they planned to vote in the November 6th general election were allowed to complete the survey. Approximately 23% of the voters in our sample were contacted via cell phone with live callers.

Age (weighted according to 2014 exit polls)
12% Less than 30 years old
24% Between 30 and 44 years old
39% Between 45 and 64 years old
24% 65 or older

10% African-American
1% Asian-American
83% White
2% Latino
4% Other/Don’t know

Party ID
26.5% Democrat
38.5% Republican
26% Independent
9% Other

Gender (weighted according to 2014 exit polls)
52% Female
48% Male

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at [email protected] or Dr. Jay Barth by email at [email protected].