23 February, 2017
Many Americans do not trust opinion polls. They are not moved by recent polls on the presidency of Donald Trump.
Studies show that, nationwide, 44 percent of those questioned approve of Trump's actions since taking office in January. But his favorability rating can rise to as high as 52 percent in some areas, depending on whom is questioned.
Much of his support comes from rural communities in states like Arizona.
In Mohave County, Arizona, three out of four people voted for Donald Trump. That is more than in any other county in Arizona.
Many people in Mohave Country believe Trump is doing a good job as president. They agreed with him that bad news about his presidency comes from three sources: the media, members of the Democratic Party and critics who have an interest in keeping things the way they are.
Sam Scarmardo owns a gun store and is a Trump supporter.
"Sometimes he's a little bombastic," he says of Trump. "But behind the bombast and show, there's a whole lot of thought on what will make America great again, and America does need to be great again."
Arizona is a state with relatively few rules on gun ownership.
Scarmardo believes Trump supports gun rights. His store sells silencers for handguns and ammunition to shoppers. They can also sign rental agreements to borrow a high-powered rifle or machine gun.
Scarmardo says gun ownership is an American tradition. But he notes, guns are not the top issue for people in Arizona.
"Immigration's number one," he says. "We have people in this town that are out of work or underemployed, totally unemployed, that can't feed their own families and we have a terrible influx of illegal aliens."
A community struggling to recover economically
The area around Lake Havasu City, in Mohave County, has struggled since the economic crisis of 2008.
Lake Havasu became known for its water sports and warm weather in the 1970s. It had many visitors from California, Northern states and even Western Canada.
The city is home to the London Bridge, a 19th century structure that once stretched across the River Thames. The bridge now crosses part of the lake, which was created by building a dam on the Colorado River.
Scarmardo attends a weekly breakfast with a group of men who support the Republican Party. These people are among the president's strongest supporters.
At one recent gathering, several women were also present.
Jeanne Kentch is the Mohave County Assessor. She supports the president's temporary travel ban on people from seven mainly Muslim countries. A federal court has suspended enforcement of the ban.
Kentch says conservatives like her often are accused of being homophobic and sexist. She says the ban's critics are ignoring that conservatives do not support the legal discrimination against gays and women in many Muslim countries.
Another woman at the meeting, Diane Klostermeier, asked, "What is wrong with trying to protect the people from terrorists entering our country?"
Some people in Lake Havasu worry that the United States is too divided by politics and culture. Arizona also shares a border with Mexico.
One man at the breakfast said he hoped that Trump will repair U.S. relations with Mexico. Those relations have been hurt by Trump's plan to build a wall along the border and have Mexico pay for it.
Gordon Groat, a member of the Lake Havasu City Council, has worked in international trade. He says the wall, "implies strained relations with the entirety of the Western hemisphere through Latin America."
Groat worries that the tension, in his words, "creates a great entrée point for countries like China," which can then build financial influence in the area. Groat says he trusts that President Trump, as an international businessman, can deal with this complex situation.
The voters at the meeting say they believe Trump understands American business and American values. They say, although others are criticizing the president, they are glad to see change brought to Washington, D.C.
I'm Mario Ritter.
Mike O'Sullivan reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
bombastic – adj. speech or writing meant to sound important but is not sincere
influx – n. the arrival of many people
homophobic – adj. afraid of homosexuals
implies – v. express something indirectly, to suggest
entirety – n. the whole or total amount
poll - n. a public opinion study
favorability – n. winning approval
source – n. cause; beginning