NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A poll released Wednesday shows that President Donald Trump's approval rating in Tennessee is around 50 percent three months after he won the state by a wide margin in the general election.
Of the 600 registered voters interviewed for the Middle Tennessee State University poll, 51 percent said they approved of the job Trump is doing. He won the state with 61 percent of the popular vote.
The poll was conducted between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The results were released at the annual Associated Press-Tennessee Press Association legislative preview session.
The results show that Trump is experiencing a hangover, while former president Barack Obama got somewhat of a honeymoon — at least initially — in the state after being first elected in 2008, said Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll. That's because Trump won the state solidly, he said, but barely has a majority of support now. Obama lost badly in Tennessee, with only 42 percent of people voting for the former president. But in a poll conducted in late February 2009, 53 percent of respondents said they approved of the job Obama was doing. That was the highest rating he ever got in the state, Reineke said.
In the poll released Wednesday, 32 percent of those interviewed said they disapproved of Trump's performance and 17 percent said they didn't know or didn't answer. Reineke cautioned that the polling was early in Trump's presidency and opinions could easily change.
The poll also found mixed support for Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to hike gasoline taxes to fund road projects while cutting grocery and other taxes. The poll showed that 38 percent of voters approved of the gas tax and 28 percent disapproved. Thirty-three percent of voters said they weren't sure and 1 percent declined to answer.
The survey found that Haslam continues to get approval ratings from a solid majority of voters. "Even close to a majority of the Democrats in this state say they think he is doing a good job," Reineke said.
The poll showed that 57 percent of voters approve of the way Haslam is doing his job. The poll found less support for the Legislature, with 50 percent approving of the way the General Assembly does its job.
The poll also found that about half the state's voters want to see a Republican governor elected to replace Haslam, who is term-limited.