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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 05, 2017 1:00 am

Poll: State positive on Pence, less on Trump

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Hoosiers retain a relatively positive image of Vice President Mike Pence, but the same can't be said for President Donald Trump.

These are the latest findings released from the Old National Bank/Ball State University 2017 Hoosier Survey.

The annual survey found that Pence has a 50 percent approval rating and a 37 percent disapproval rating among the state's residents. That is almost 10 percentage points higher than President Trump's 41 percent approval in the telephone poll of 600 adult Hoosiers.

Both the president and vice president are underperforming substantially, given their 19-percentage-point victory in the 2016 presidential election, said Chad Kinsella, a political science professor and survey analyst for Ball State's Bowen Center for Public Affairs.

In 2016, before Pence was selected to be Trump's running mate, a Bellwether poll found that only 40 percent of Hoosiers approved of his job as governor as he was locked in a tight race for re-election.

Trump's disapproval rating hit 45 percent in what is considered a red state.

“Recently reported polling by Morning Consult indicated that his net approval in Indiana – the percentage points between those who approve vs. disapprove – had slipped from plus-22 in January to only plus-5 in September,” Kinsella said. “These results from October put his approval underwater in the state, with negative-5 approval.”

But the survey is not all bad news for Trump, the professor said. “He still has great support among his base, with 77 percent approval among Republicans.”

The margin of error for the Ball State survey was plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.

Klutz hits mark

State Auditor Tera Klutz of Fort Wayne recently fulfilled one of her “First Year Initiatives” with the creation of an Internal Controls Department and the hiring of the department director.

Last month, Michael Rhoads, a certified public accountant, joined the auditor's office and has begun reviewing and developing processes within the agency.

“Creating a strong internal controls department is something all Hoosiers should expect from the state's chief financial officer,” she said.

“While I do not suspect fraud or abuse, Michael is entrusted with reviewing the processes and procedures of the office to ensure accuracy and reduce duplication and streamline office duties,” Klutz added.

Klutz said that after reviewing the processes within the auditor's office, she will be offering training on internal controls to all state agencies, on a voluntary basis.

Rhoads grew up in Fort Wayne.

Polls, part 2

Morning Consult said its latest poll shows approval ratings slid over the summer for nearly all 100 U.S. senators, Indiana lawmakers included.

According to the survey, 47 percent of registered voters in the Hoosier State approved of Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., during the third quarter, down from 53 percent in the second quarter and roughly the same as in the first quarter, 46 percent.

Donnelly, who is up for re-election next year, has seen his disapproval numbers remain steady: 26 percent in the first and third quarters and 25 percent in the second quarter. Remaining respondents – 28 percent in the third quarter – didn't know or had no opinion about Donnelly.

The approval rating for freshman Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., slipped from 48 percent in the first and second quarters to 45 percent in the third quarter.

Young's disapproval rating inched up from 25 percent to 26 percent in that time, and the percentage of people who didn't know or had no opinion was 28 percent in the third quarter.

Nationwide, Morning Consult surveyed more than 255,000 registered voters from July 1 to Sept. 30. The margin of error in Indiana was 1 percent.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont enjoyed the highest approval figure in the third quarter, 71 percent. House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suffered the highest disapproval, 55 percent.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, was approved by 53 percent of survey respondents and disapproved by 21 percent in the third quarter, while 26 percent didn't know or had no opinion. His numbers are little changed since he took office in January.

The most popular governor was Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who was approved by 69 percent in the third quarter. The least popular was Republican Chris Christie, who was disapproved by 77 percent of New Jersey voters.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.