Poll: Voters evaluate Sarah Sanders, Leslie Rutledge on favorability

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 6,957 views 

AG Leslie Rutledge (left) and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Eleven months until they may square off in a GOP primary for Arkansas Governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is viewed more favorably by voters than Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 535 statewide voters shows that Sanders is sitting with a 43.5-41.5% favorable-unfavorable rating, while Rutledge is viewed 31% favorably to 41% unfavorably.

Q: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Sarah Huckabee Sanders?

43.5% Favorable
41.5% Unfavorable
15% Don’t Know

Q: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Leslie Rutledge?

31% Favorable
41% Unfavorable
28% Don’t Know

“Whether a candidate is viewed favorably or unfavorably is not a litmus test for the outcome of an election, but it does give us insight as to how voters are viewing these two Republican candidates – either of which would be the odds-on-favorite to win the general election if they receive the nomination,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief.

“The most interesting aspect of these results rest in the crosstabs. Both Sanders and Rutledge have similar unfavorable ratings among Democrats and Independents. However, Sanders fares much more favorably with Republican voters (82%-6%) than Rutledge (48%-20%). This is the difference, and quite frankly, where their fight is going to be,” Brock added.

Three Democrats say they are running for governor: Anthony Bland, James “Rus” Russell, and Supha Xayprasith-Mays. Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington has also said he plans to run for governor.

The TB&P-Hendrix survey also tested a long-running political controversy that has divided voters since the November 2020 elections.

Q: In your opinion, was the recent presidential election stolen from Donald Trump or did Joe Biden rightfully win the election?

38.5% Stolen from Donald Trump
50.5% Joe Biden rightfully won the election
11% Don’t Know

“While a majority believe the Presidential election was won by President Biden, there is clearly a large swath of Arkansas voters dubious of the results. This division is likely to fester and I suspect will continue to be a source of disunity in the electorate,” Brock said.

Other results from this round of polling include job approval ratings for President Joe Biden, Sen. John Boozman, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and the state legislature.

Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.

Dr. Jay Barth, emeritus professor of politics at Hendrix College and an activist in Democratic Party politics, and Robert Coon, managing partner with Impact Management Group and Republican political consultant, helped craft and analyze the poll results. Barth and Coon appeared on Talk Business & Politics this week to offer their commentary on all of the poll results. You can watch their discussion in the video below.

This survey of 535 registered voters was conducted May 26-31, 2021 and has a margin of error of +/- 5.5%. Respondents were contacted via landline telephones and text message. The poll is weighted to account for key demographics and is balanced by congressional district. For more detail on methodology and demographics, click here.

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. A link back to this specific story is also required for any digital or online usage by other media outlets.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at [email protected].