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Governor Hobbs Outlasts Honeymoon Period with Arizona Voters

Arizona’s Governor Performs Better than State Legislature



PHOENIX (March 7, 2024)- Just over one year since she took office, Governor Katie Hobbs remains above water with Arizona voters. Noble Predictive Insights’ (NPI) latest Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) found that Hobbs has remained consistent with voters since February 2023, and, according to Arizona voters, is performing better than the Arizona Legislature.

 

This AZPOP, conducted from February 6–13, 2024, surveyed 1,002 registered voters in Arizona, yielding a margin of error of ± 3.1%. 

 

In February 2023 – just after Hobbs took office – her job approval rating stood at a net +13 percentage points: 43% approved of her, 30% disapproved, and 27% were unsure. At that time, many expected her approval rating to drop – voters tend to give newly elected leaders high marks right as they take office (known as a “honeymoon period”), only to turn against them as the daily struggles of governing take the shine off their new leader.

 

But Hobbs defied this pattern. Every time she lost a supporter or an unsure voter turned against her, she found a new supporter somewhere else. She’s maintained a net +13 approval rating – now with 51% of voters approving of her job performance and 38% disapproving.


feb 2024 azpop hobbs approval

 

A virtually identical trend appears in her favorability ratings – which tend to capture a politician’s overall personal appeal rather than their pure job performance. In February 2023, Hobbs had a net +13 favorable rating. Now, she’s at a +14 net rating, with 52% of voters viewing her favorably, 38% unfavorably, and just 10% with no opinion.


feb 2024 azpop hobbs fav

 

Hobbs is defying political gravity primarily because she’s defying partisanship. Her approval rating among Democrats has slightly decreased, going from +65 net approval to +58 net approval. But Independents moved in her direction, going from net +7 approval to +11 approval. And her net approval among Republicans is increased by a point.


feb 2024 azpop hobbs approval by party

 

NPI Chief of Research David Byler explained the trend. “There are multiple moving parts here. Hobbs has lost ground with the smallest part of the electorate – registered Democrats. But, she’s increased her standing among Independents. And, amazingly, she managed to find some new Republican supporters to cancel out her losses with that group. In this political moment – when some voters are souring on Joe Biden and the pool of Democrats is shrinking slightly – that’s enough to maintain her standing.”

 

Hobbs’s resilience among Republicans comes from the moderate wing. While conservative Republicans disapprove of her job performance 76% to 17%, moderate Republicans are evenly split at 45%-45%. These Republicans – many of whom might vote for a moderate, business-friendly Republican over a generic Democrat but prefer a generic Democrat to a populist, Trump ally – have helped Hobbs stave off decline.

 

Byler added, “Arizona is quickly becoming a four-party state, made up of Democrats, conservative Trump-aligned Republicans, moderate McCain Republicans, and Independents. If a politician has appeal to just one group – say, conservative Republicans or Democrats – that won’t be enough to stay popular or win elections. But Hobbs has Democrats, as well as a foothold with moderate Republicans and Independents. That’s enough for her for now.”

 

Hobbs currently outpolls the state legislature, which has a net -1 job approval rating (40% approve, 41% disapprove). The legislature’s approval rating is more mixed, with no partisan group providing a lopsided “approve” or “disapprove” verdict on the body. Independents, however, gave the lowest approval, resulting in a net -14 rating. Mike Noble, NPI Founder & CEO, said that this matched his expectations.


feb 2024 azpop az legislature approval by party

 

“The legislature is closely divided, with the GOP in control. That situation is bound to breed mixed feelings among all political groups. Some Republicans will appreciate their majority, and others will be frustrated that they can’t pass more. Some Democrats will understand that their legislators can only do so much in the minority – and others will be frustrated with their progress. It’s no wonder that their approval rating is roughly even.”

 

He added, “But really, the topline numbers are the key numbers here. Hobbs is more popular than the legislature. And that gives her a strong hand when she goes toe-to-toe with them during legislative session.”




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Methodology: This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by Noble Predictive Insights from February 6–13, 2024 from an Arizona statewide registered voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education. The sample size was 1,002 completed surveys, with an MoE of ± 3.1%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.


Media Contact:

Veronica Sutliff, Noble Predictive Insights, v.sutliff@npredictive.com, (602) 390-5248


About Noble Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan public opinion polling, market research, and data analytics firm, Noble Predictive Insights exists to transform how leaders make decisions by delivering data-based solutions and predictive insights that provide a clear path forward. We bridge the gap between research and strategy with customized strategic research, a hyper-focus on impact, and being true partners with our clients. Noble Predictive Insights (formerly O.H. Predictive Insights) is a 2023 Inc. 5000 fastest-growing company in the Southwest region, and is ranked in the top 15 most accurate pollsters as well as in the top 5 for lowest average bias in the 2021-22 election cycle by FiveThirtyEight. For more information, please call (602) 326-5694 or visit our website at www.noblepredictiveinsights.com.

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