Arkansas voters view President Joe Biden in a heavily unfavorable light, and their perspective on former President Donald Trump is split evenly despite him winning Arkansas in 2020 with 62% of the vote.
The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of 835 likely Arkansas voters tested the favorability ratings of Biden and Trump as well as a question regarding the recent controversy involving Trump’s handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Q. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of President Joe Biden?
11.5% Very favorable
22% Somewhat favorable (34% favorable)
10.5% Somewhat unfavorable
52% Very unfavorable (62.5% unfavorable)
Q. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of former President Donald Trump?
30% Very favorable
18% Somewhat favorable (48% favorable)
6% Somewhat unfavorable
42% Very unfavorable (48% unfavorable)
The poll also asked a question regarding the recent controversy around Trump’s handling of classified documents.
Q. In recent weeks, questions have been raised about former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents following his departure from office. How serious do you think the allegations are regarding President Trump’s handling of classified documents?
44% Very serious
8% Somewhat serious (52% serious)
12% Not too serious
29% Not serious at all (41% not serious)
“We used to say all politics is local, but with the influence of national media on voter attitudes it may be more accurate to declare all politics are national,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief. “Biden’s unpopularity is no doubt dragging on other Democratic candidates, although Chris Jones is a bit of an exception. Trump’s negatives don’t make him popular to attract general election voters, but I expect Republicans will use opposition to Biden as their main message.”
Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.
Dr. Jay Barth, emeritus professor of politics at Hendrix College, is active in Democratic Party politics and helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
“This survey presented us the opportunity to test the favorability ratings of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Biden’s numbers show his continued challenges with Arkansas voters with a majority ‘strongly’ disapproving of him. Moreover, these subpar ratings are pretty much across the board. While he performs slightly better in urban/suburban areas, with younger voters, with better educated voters, and with women, Biden’s only signs of significant strength are with Democrat voters and voters of color. Even with his core supporters, however, respondents are more likely to say they ‘somewhat’ support Biden as a political leader rather than ‘strongly’ supporting him.
“While the weak numbers for Biden are somewhat expected, it is Donald Trump that has shown a more significant fall with Arkansas voters. His overall favorable/unfavorable numbers are fairly even in the state with 42% of the state’s voters ‘strongly’ disapproving of him. The groups of Arkansans most negative towards Trump are now young voters, urban/suburban voters in the Second and Third Congressional Districts, Black voters, voters with a college education, and women. In all cases, at or near a majority of these subgroups ‘strongly’ disapprove of Trump. Trump has also dropped significantly with Independent voters; a majority now disapprove of him.
“The criminal investigation of the documents maintained at Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, does seem to be driving some of the drop in Trump’s ratings in Arkansas. There is a strong correlation between attitudes about Trump and whether or not the former President’s handling of classified documents following his departure from office should be seen as serious or not.”
Robert Coon, managing partner with Impact Management Group, which works with Republican political candidates, also helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
“Former President Donald Trump has seen his favorability fall in Arkansas, as it has in other jurisdictions in recent months. Trump has always been a polarizing figure – immensely popular with Republicans, highly unpopular with Democrats, and more favorable than not with Independents. That margin with Independents has kept his numbers positive, however falling support with that group has now driven his favorability downward. 40% of Independents in this survey find Trump favorable compared to 55% who find him unfavorable. Women have also soured on the former president, a majority of which now find him unfavorable (52%) compared to a majority of men who find him favorable (53%).
“One of the issues driving Donald Trump’s falling favorability is his recent handling of classified material. Overall 52% of voters believe the issue is serious, with 44% saying its ‘very serious’ compared to only 29% who say it’s not serious at all. 50% of all age categories believe the classified material issue is a serious one along with 57% of women and 47% of men. Along party lines, the biggest impact has been among Independents, 56% of which believe the issue is serious compared to 36% who don’t. Even among Republicans, 21% believe the issue is serious, demonstrating that the view of concern does penetrate the party base. The one group not convinced the classified document issue is a serious one are voters who find Trump ‘strongly favorable’ (88% not serious), as their view of the former president remains unchanged.
“Falling favorability for Donald Trump does not mean rising favorability for President Joe Biden. 62% of Arkansas voters find Biden unfavorable compared to only 34% who find him favorable. Like Trump, Biden gets support from his party base (89% favorable) and is highly unfavorable with the opposition party (94%), though notably his numbers with Democrats are soft as only 35% find him ‘strongly’ favorable. Biden is also upside down by a nearly 2-1 margin with Independents, 60% of which find him unfavorable compared to 33% who find him favorable. While Republicans may be struggling with Independents post-Dobbs ruling, Biden remains a drag on Democratic candidates that will likely continue to be exploited.”
The survey of 835 likely Arkansas voters was conducted Sept. 12, 2022, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8%.
Responses were collected via SMS by phone. The poll is slightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education, and gender. Additional methodology is available upon request.
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]