The View From Arizona: Approval of Political Leaders

September 3, 2021
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Arizona | US Politics
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In the 2020 Presidential Election, Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win Arizona since 1996—and did so with just a 0.3% margin, receiving 49.36% of the vote to Donald Trump’s 49.06%. Now, seven months into President Joe Biden’s term, the latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies surveys Arizona residents’ views of the Biden Administration’s performance thus far, as well as the performances of the state’s other key officials. 

Reflecting the incredibly close nature of the 2020 Presidential Election in Arizona, our research finds deep division in Arizonans’ opinions of the President: 43% approve and 42% disapprove of Joe Biden’s overall job performance since he became President of the United States. A further 14% neither approve nor disapprove of his performance. 

Approval of Joe Biden’s performance as President varies significantly according to respondents’ 2020 Presidential Election vote, with 72% of Joe Biden voters saying they approve and 74% of Donald Trump voters saying they disapprove of his performance. There are also considerable differences based on age: younger respondents aged 18 to 24 (50%) and 25 to 34 (54%) are the most likely to say they approve of Biden’s performance, whereas those aged 55 to 64 are much more likely to disapprove (59%) than to approve (30%).

When it comes to the Joe Biden Administration’s performance in specific policy areas, approval is highest with respect to the Administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, of which 48% approve—including 79% of 2020 Joe Biden voters and 22% of 2020 Donald Trump voters. That being said, a considerable 40% of Arizonans disapprove of Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic. This pattern of division is present regarding other policy areas as well: 38% approve and 36% disapprove of the Administration’s performance on the environment, and 39% approve and 44% disapprove of its performance on the economy.

However, in the remaining policy areas on which we polled, larger proportions of Arizonans disapprove than approve of the Biden Administration’s record. Pluralities disapprove of the Biden Administration’s performance in the areas of immigration (48%), defence (47%), addressing unemployment (44%), and crime/policing (44%). Slightly smaller proportions disapprove with respect to relations with Russia (41%), relations with China (39%), and housing (36%). For 2020 Donald Trump voters, disapproval is highest with regard to defence (80%). Meanwhile, for 2020 Joe Biden voters, it is immigration (22%) that sees the greatest proportion saying they disapprove.

Looking beyond the Joe Biden Administration, our polling also asked Arizonans to evaluate their Governor and Senators. Firstly, 40% approve and 36% disapprove of the overall job performance of Republican Governor Doug Ducey, who will be ineligible to run in the 2022 Gubernatorial Election in Arizona due to term limits. A further fifth (20%) neither approves nor disapproves. A majority (56%) of 2020 Donald Trump voters approve of Doug Ducey’s performance, as do a notable 24% of 2020 Joe Biden voters. 

While Arizona’s Governor is a member of the Republican Party, both of the state’s Senators are Democrats. With respect to Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Arizonans are once again split: 30% approve, 30% disapprove, and 27% neither approve nor disapprove of Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s overall performance. Sinema is known to be a moderate Democrat who has sometimes sided with Senate Republicans, such as on opposing a $15 an hour minimum wage, which may account for why a slightly greater proportion of 2020 Biden voters disapprove (31%) than approve (29%) of her performance as Senator. Likewise, a considerable 32% of 2020 Trump voters approve of the Senator’s performance, compared to 30% who disapprove.

By contrast, Arizonans are relatively less divided on the performance of Senator Mark Kelley, who will seek re-election in the 2022 Senate Elections. 45% approve and 30% disapprove of Mark Kelley’s performance as Senator. With a net approval rating of +15%, Senator Mark Kelley has the highest net approval rating among his fellow Senator, the Governor of Arizona, and the President. Unlike views on Kyrsten Sinema, 2020 Joe Biden and Donald Trump voters diverge substantially in their opinions on Arizona’s second Senator, as 73% of Biden voters approve and 58% of Trump voters disapprove of Kelley’s performance, which may be related to his greater tendency to vote with the Democratic party-line.

The results of this poll reaffirm Arizona’s status as a key swing state, with the degree of division along partisan lines being just as evident now as it was in the 2020 Presidential Election. Both the 2022 Gubernatorial Election and the 2022 Senate Election in Arizona can be expected to be close races, as Senator Mark Kelley seeks to retain his seat and new candidates vie to be the next Governor of Arizona.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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