by HighGround | August 21, 2017

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President Remains Popular with GOP Base at 74% 

PHOENIX (August 21, 2017) — On the eve of returning to Arizona, President Donald J. Trump’s approval rating has sunk to 41.8% according to a new statewide survey released by HighGround Public Affairs.  Despite winning the state by more than 3.5 points just nine months ago, nearly 55% of likely Arizona voters now disapprove of the job that the President is doing.


However, his approval remains solid among his Republican base where he enjoys a 74.0% approval rating.  The President faces enormous challenges with all other portions of the electorate, where he is experiencing 6.3% approval among Democrats, 26.7% approval among Independents, and 33.3% approval among unaffiliated voters.


“If the President and the GOP fail to expand public support beyond the GOP base, the party may face historic electoral failures in 2018,” said Chuck Coughlin, President and CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which commissioned the poll late last week. “A President cannot govern with the support of a single party; the 2010 mid-term cycle should inform everyone where this current ship is headed.”


“While I am sure he will receive a hero’s welcome inside the Convention hall tomorrow, there should be little doubt given this research, which shows that he enjoys single digit support amongst Democrats and less than a third of Independent and unaffiliated voters, that this is not a sustainable general election coalition,” said Coughlin.


While rumors have circulated that the President may pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it would further exacerbate the GOP’s electoral chances in November of 2018. While a pardon is supported by a majority of the GOP base (63.3%), it is overwhelmingly opposed by 89% of Democrats, 66.6% of Independents and nearly 70% of unaffiliated voters (69.5%).


“We understand that many people continue to be confounded by the President’s statements and his actions.  However, these poll numbers show he continues to campaign and govern from a purely partisan base that got him elected in November’s open seat contest versus Hillary Clinton. The mid-term election is likely to be a referendum on his Presidency which is being rejected by nearly 60% of the electorate,” stated Coughlin.


“His business instincts as a CEO are not serving him well in assembling a governing electoral coalition capable of addressing some of our nation’s biggest challenges: health care, immigration, border security, tax reform, infrastructure investment and national security. The CEO mentality of winning at all costs further serves to alienate constituencies he will need to govern effectively,” said Coughlin.


The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.  The Gubernatorial Cycle leans more conservative and more Republican than the Presidential Cycle.


Coughlin concluded, “Governing is about bringing people together to solve problems.  If the President doesn’t get this soon, it could have disastrous results for Republicans, even in this conservative cycle.  However, we believe there is a way out. By navigating away from the divisive rhetoric and base pandering, he can begin to focus on key issues such as tax reform and infrastructure that have broad electoral support. He continues to have the ability to succeed and the question will be if he has the discipline to do so. If not, the Country may be hurtling towards a catastrophic mid-term election for our President.”


About the Survey


The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 general election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  Anticipated turnout for the Arizona 2018 General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +12%. 


Next, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the job the following persons or groups are doing:


Q.        President Donald Trump


27.5%  Strongly Approve

14.3%  Somewhat Approve

6.5%    Somewhat Disapprove

48.3%  Strongly Disapprove

3.5%    Don’t Know, Refused


Q.        As you may be aware, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for defying a Judge’s order to halt detention based solely on suspicion of a person’s immigration status.  There has been speculation that President Trump will pardon the former Sheriff.  Knowing what you know right now, would you support or oppose a Presidential pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

28.3%  Strongly Support

8.8%    Somewhat Support

6.5%    Somewhat Oppose

50.3%  Strongly Oppose

6.3%    Don’t Know, Refused


The survey was conducted on August 18-19th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence.  The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Last year, HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Restoring Arizona, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.


Survey Demographics


Age Group:


10.8%    20 to 29

15.3%    30 to 39

19.7%    40 to 49

29.5%    50 to 64

24.7%    65 Plus




48.0%    Male     

52.0%    Female




44.2%    Republican                                         

31.8%    Democrat                                           

15.0%    PND

9.0%      Independent/Other       


Congressional District:


                11.0%    CD1

                14.3%    CD2

                7.0%      CD3

                11.0%    CD4

                12.3%    CD5

                13.7%    CD6

                6.0%      CD7

                13.0%    CD8

                11.7%    CD9



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