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Missouri Political Issues

By Kenneth Warren, Ph.D., Associate Director, SLU/You Gov Poll

In our SLU/YouGov Poll we went beyond asking questions about just the U.S. presidential and Missouri gubernatorial races. We asked likely voters several other questions pertaining to politics. We were quite interested in the level of approval Missouri gave Trump, Parson, and our political institutions. We found that Missouri voters were almost equally divided on Trump’s job performance with 18% approving and 32% strongly approving, but with 5% disapproving and 43% strongly disapproving. Since we found that Trump would carry Missouri by 7% if the election were held today, evidently a small percentage of voters who disapprove of Trump’s job performance would vote for him anyway.

Our poll showed that voters were also split on Governor Parson’s job performance with 33% approving and 14% strongly approving and with 21% disapproving and 22% strongly disapproving. Our SLU/YouGov Poll found that slightly fewer voters would vote for Parson, 41%, than approve of his performance, 47%, meaning that his approval ratings are somewhat “soft”.

Of all elected officials we surveyed, U.S. Senator Blunt had the weakest approval ratings. Only 8% of Missouri voters said they strongly approved of his job performance, while another 30% approved. Just over 21% disapproved, with 28% strongly disapproving of his job performance. A relatively high percentage, 13%, said they were not sure.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley fared better with 21% approving and 26% strongly approving for a total approval score of 47%, 9% points higher than Blunt’s total approval score. Yet 39% disapproved of Hawley’s job performance with 10% disapproving and 29% strongly disapproving. It is noteworthy that not any elected political official we interviewed received a majority approval rating from Missouri voters, but this is not that unusual given the “negative” times that we live in with elected officials usually receiving approval ratings below 50%, often way below 50%.

Missouri voters gave very negative approval ratings to the U.S. Congress’s job performance. Just less than 15% gave the U.S. Congress a positive approval with 14% saying they approve and only 1% saying they strongly approve, while 48.5% disapproved and 26.5% strongly disapproved with 10% not sure. This finding is consistent with national ratings of Congress’ job performance. In recent years pollsters have frequently found congressional approval ratings in the teens. For example, a July 8, 2020 Economist/YouGov poll found Congressional approval at 17%.

The Missouri state legislature fared much better with 40% approving and 3% strongly approving of its job performance, although 23% disapproved and another 21.5% strongly disapproved with 12% not sure. Yet, still slightly more disapproved of the Missouri legislature’s performance, 44.5%, than approved, 43%.

We also asked respondents in the SLU/YouGov Poll what should be Missouri’s top issue priority. Not unexpectedly, voters ranked the economy first, 43%, followed by health care, 28%, education, 13.5%, infrastructure, 10.5%, and other, 5%.

Given the impact of Covid-19 on our economies, it was expected to see respondents in our poll rank the U.S. and Missouri economies negatively. Only 4% ranked the U.S. economy as excellent, 23% good, 34% fair, and 37% poor. Only 2% were not sure. Similarly, only 3.5% of Missouri voters ranked Missouri’s economy as excellent with 25% saying good, 40.5% fair, 27.5% poor, with 3% not sure.

We also wanted to find out how Missouri voters perceived race relations in their community. Only 12% said excellent, followed by 33% saying good, 31% fair, and 19% poor with 5% not sure.

Respondents gave mixed reviews to the crime problem in their community with 8% saying excellent, 31% good, 38% fair, 21% poor, with 2% not sure.

Respondents to our SLU/YouGov Poll rated roads and infrastructure in Missouri very negatively with over four of five respondents ranking Missouri’s roads and infrastructure as fair, 41%, or poor, 39%, with only 17% saying fair and just a minuscule percentage, 2%, saying excellent.

In our SLU/YouGov Poll we asked respondents whether they agreed with the following (the percent who agreed is indicated beside the item).

  • The U.S. is on the right track and headed in a good direction: 33%
  • Missouri is on the right track and headed in a good direction: 38%
  • Missouri state government should prohibit abortions after 8 weeks of pregnancy: 45%
  • Missouri should require background checks for all firearm sales: 66%
  • Missouri state government should spend more money to aid the poor: 45%

Demographic and Party Cross-Tabs