Public Radio from UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local & Regional News

Poll: Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson maintains high job approval

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen
/
KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson holds a solid job approval rating of 58% with Arkansas voters, according to results released Friday  from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

A survey conducted Sept. 20-22, 2021 of 961 likely voters shows the incumbent governor with a 58-40% overall job performance rating. Respondents were asked:

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Gov. Asa Hutchinson is doing?

15% Strongly Approve
43% Somewhat Approve (58% Approve)
26% Somewhat Disapprove 14%
Strongly Disapprove (40% Disapprove)
2% Don’t Know

“I’d say seven years into his tenure as governor, Asa Hutchinson should feel pretty good about his overall job rating,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief. “He has held a high standing with voters even through a pandemic, a host of legislative battles, and raising his national profile. I think his willingness to interact regularly with the public and to answer tough questions about his policies has led to his popularity.”

Hutchinson is term-limited and cannot seek another term in 2022. TB&P and Hendrix have released polling results from their latest survey over the course of the last week. On Sunday, the final poll question will be revealed on voter attitudes regarding the elimination of the personal income tax.

ANALYSIS

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:

“In May, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s approval numbers were distinctive in that Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all shared a slightly positive view of the Governor. That said, his numbers had sagged a bit from earlier evaluations because of the messiness of a legislative session where he was at odds with the Republican majority on several key occasions and because of the ongoing tensions related to the pandemic. We see slight improvements in the Governor’s overall standing and, interestingly, we see the Republican performing much more strongly with his fellow Republican partisans than a few months back. In this survey, just under seven in ten Republicans evaluate Hutchinson positively, six in ten Independents do so, and just under half of Democrats do. Therefore, Hutchinson stands out in that he is not a polarizing figure in a very polarized moment in politics, but he has solidified his support with Republicans.

“Besides political party, there are only a few spots of significant variation in evaluations of the veteran governor across subgroups of voters. There is some difference by age with younger voters more disapproving of Hutchinson while those 65 and older are particularly positive towards him. Hutchinson also performs slightly worse with voters of color, but even here the differences by race and ethnicity are minimal compared to evaluations of most other political figures. All told, as the race to replace him gets underway, Hutchinson continues the strong tradition of popular Arkansas governors after a small blip downward in the spring of this year.”

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:

“Gov. Asa Hutchinson demonstrates his reliable popularity once again, with 58% of those surveyed in this poll approving of the job he’s doing compared to 40% who disapprove. Given the fact that he’s nearing the completion of his 7th year in office, it’s no surprise that only 2% of voters surveyed don’t have an opinion. Additionally, Hutchinson’s long tenure is one likely reason that the bulk of his approval comes from voters who only somewhat approve of the job he’s doing (43%). At the extremes, however, just as many strongly approve (15%) as strongly disapprove (14%) of his job performance.

“Hutchinson performs better with voters 45-64 (58%/42%) and particularly well with the important 65+ voting block (68%/31%). Historically we’ve seen breadth in Hutchinson’s numbers with solid approval that transcends party lines. This survey is no different. More than two-thirds of Republicans approve of the job he’s doing (69%) as well as 60% of Independents. Though the governor is upside down with Democrats, the margin is only roughly 6 percentage points (46%/52%) – a notable achievement with voters from the opposition party.”

METHODOLOGY

This survey of 916 likely general election voters was conducted September 20-22, 2021, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.04%. Responses were collected via SMS to an online survey. The poll is weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education, and gender.

Age:
Under 30 – 5%
Between 30-44 – 25%
Between 45-64 – 40%
65 and over – 30%

Race:
Black 9%
Asian 1%
White 83%
Hispanic 1%
Other 6%

Party affiliation
Democrat 26%
Independent 28%
Republican 38%
Other 8%

Attend religious services
Weekly 48%
Occasionally 29%
Never 23%

Gender
Female 52%
Male 48%

Education
College graduate 45%
Non-college graduate 55%