Nov 1, 2023 - Politics

Poll: Sarah Huckabee Sanders' approval rating the lowest for an Arkansas governor in 20 years

Illustration of polling, voting, and chart symbols on a grid

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Arkansans have the economy on the brain and are not sold on Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Driving the news: The annual Arkansas Poll conducted by the political science department at the University of Arkansas came out this week.

Some key takeaways include:

  • 36% of respondents said the economy is the most important issue facing people in Arkansas, followed by politicians and politics at 14%.
  • 48% said they approve of Sanders — the lowest for any Arkansas governor since the 47% approval rating posted in 2003 by her father, Mike Huckabee.
  • 36% said they are worse off financially this year compared to last year, while 45% said their financial situation is the same and 18% said it's better than last year.
  • Most Arkansans — 61% — say the state is headed in the right direction.
  • A growing share — 41% compared to 25% in 2016 — say climate change will pose a serious threat in their lifetime.

What they're saying: "A volatile economic and political environment is likely influencing some people's general sense of well-being — in Arkansas and elsewhere,"said Janine Parry, poll director and political science professor, in a U of A news release.

The intrigue: In two years, one-fifth of Arkansans have hopped over to saying they favor laws that ease the process of getting an abortion. In 2021, 18% of poll respondents said it should be easier. That jumped to 38% this year.

  • Context: Arkansas' trigger law that nearly completely bans abortion went into effect in 2022 after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
  • 29% of respondents say it should be harder to get an abortion, while 25% say nothing should change.

How it works: The poll was conducted Oct. 4-22 through 801 telephone — cell and landline — interviews with randomly selected adult Arkansans. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent, according to the University of Arkansas.


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