LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new Arkansas Poll reports Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the governor with the lowest approval rating since her dad’s leadership.
“With it being its 25th year, you’ve got a lot of back data to look at,” Capitol View host Roby Brock said.
According to the poll, Sanders has a 48% approval rating in her first year as governor. Former governor Asa Hutchinson’s approval ratings stayed in the 50s and 60s. His approval rating was 59% in 2022, which was his final year in office.
Former Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s ratings stayed in the 60s and 70s, with an approval rating of 67% in his final year in office in 2014. Prior to Beebe, Republican Governor Mike Huckabee had ratings between 47% and 70% spanning over both of his terms.
Brock said he was not surprised to see Sanders’ numbers where they are this round, given her political experience and having never held public office before. He emphasized that the numbers indicate she is sticking to her political base, where she continues to see strong support.
Of those polled, 47% claimed to be conservative, 29% claimed to be moderate and 17% identified as liberal.
“She goes on Fox News and talks a lot,” Brock said. “A lot of the press conferences she’s had even in recent weeks about wokeness and support for Israel, some of those things really appeal more to the far right than to the left or even the center.”
Brock said governors before Sanders seemed to appeal more to independents and even to those on the other side of the isle, though he thinks Sanders will maintain strong support from Republicans, which make up the majority of voters in the state.
The poll also asked Arkansans about their approval of Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton. Of those polled, 40% approve of Boozman and 42% approve of Cotton. According to the report, 33% of Arkansans polled approve of President Joe Biden.
Brock also noted that for a politician in their first year of leadership, like Sanders, these numbers are not particularly worrisome, and likely do not indicate any struggle in the future running for reelection, especially when it comes to their own party’s support.
Another question in the poll was if people feel Arkansas is headed in the right direction. This year, under Sanders’ leadership, there was a 6% increase compared to last year. While the question was not necessarily tied to her leadership, her spokesperson Alexa Henning referenced it in her statement responding to the poll.
“Governor Sanders is proud of the bold, conservative policies she and the legislature promised and have signed into law in the past 10 months,” the statement said. “Under her leadership, Arkansans have more money in their bank accounts, families have choice in their education, more Arkansans are working, and businesses are flooding to the Natural State. Arkansans are feeling more optimistic due to the governor’s leadership and that’s reflected in the 6-point increase in those that feel the state is headed in the right direction.”
The results of the poll can be found at Fulbright.UARK.edu.