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Americans Give Sarah Huckabee Sanders Mixed Reviews

Americans Give Sarah Huckabee Sanders Mixed Reviews

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • 41% of U.S. adults view Trump's press secretary favorably
  • 38% have an unfavorable view of Sanders
  • Sanders' image is divided along political party lines

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. adults view White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about equally favorably (41%) as unfavorably (38%), while a sizable minority (21%) have no opinion of her after nearly a year in one of the Trump administration's most visible roles.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Favorable Ratings
Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that person -- or if you have never heard of them. How about White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders?
Favorable Unfavorable No opinion
% % %
U.S. adults 41 38 21
Gallup, June 1-13, 2018

Gallup's first measure of Sanders' favorability since she took the position nearly a year ago is based on a June 1-13 survey. The poll was conducted as the press secretary pushed back against reports that she intended to leave the White House at year's end.

Sanders was promoted from deputy press secretary to press secretary after Sean Spicer resigned from the latter position in July 2017. She is the third woman to serve in the role of White House press secretary after Dee Dee Myers, who served under Bill Clinton, and Dana Perino, who served under George W. Bush. Sanders' job has arguably been difficult, as administration officials have often given conflicting public messages that she has had to reconcile for reporters. Additionally, Sanders has had to admonish communications staff within the Trump administration about frequent information leaks to reporters.

The percentage of Americans who view Sanders favorably is similar to the 45% who say the same of her boss, President Donald Trump -- though Trump has much higher familiarity, and his unfavorable rating (54%) outweighs his favorable.

Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008 and 2016. The former governor's image generally has been equally favorable and unfavorable, though he was viewed somewhat more positively than negatively in several polls from 2009-2011. In her current role, Sanders' familiarity is even higher than her two-time presidential candidate father's has been.


About Four in Five Republicans Have a Favorable View of Sanders

Views of Sanders are divided along political party lines, as would be expected for the top spokesperson for the Republican administration's messages each day. Nearly four in five Republicans (79%) have a favorable view of Sanders, while just 9% have an unfavorable view of her.

Meanwhile, more than two in three Democrats (68%) have an unfavorable view of Sanders, compared with the 14% who view her favorably.

Independents are evenly split, with 36% each viewing her favorably and unfavorably.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Favorable Ratings, by Political Party
Favorable Unfavorable
% %
Republicans 79 9
Independents 36 36
Democrats 14 68
GALLUP, June 1-13, 2018

Bottom Line

The job of White House press secretary is undeniably challenging, given the adversarial role that the news media generally play and the need to speak for a presidential administration whose activities are wide in scope. Nevertheless, how Americans view Sanders is largely tied to how they view the Trump administration in general.

After nearly a year in her current role, Sanders' name identification is reasonably high at 79%, and her net-neutral public image is more positive than Trump's, with significantly more Americans viewing him unfavorably than favorably.

The nature of Sanders' job doesn't necessarily demand that she be well-liked, however, as her real constituency is the president himself -- and her relatively long tenure suggests Trump is more pleased with her performance than with that of her predecessor, Spicer.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-13, 2018, with a random sample of 1,520 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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