Heading into the homestretch of the November 2nd general election, Cong. John Boozman (R) and Gov. Mike Beebe (D) enjoy double-digit leads. But the two high-profile, top-of-the-ticket races are heading in different directions.
In the U.S. Senate race, Boozman’s margin over incumbent Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln has shrunk to 13 points as he now holds a 49-36% lead. Independent Trevor Drown and Green Party candidate John Gray each received 4% support, while 7% of voters remain undecided.
Beebe has seen a steady increase in his advantage – now 16 points – over Republican gubernatorial challenger Jim Keet, 50-34%. Green Party nominee Jim Lendall pulled 3.5% support and 12.5% remain undecided.
In mid-July, the first Talk Business general election poll in the Senate race showed Boozman with a 25-point lead over Lincoln, 57-32%. Beebe led Keet by only 9 points in that same survey by a 49-40% margin.
The latest Talk Business/Hendrix College Poll was conducted in all 4 Congressional Districts on Thursday night, October 14, 2010 among 1,953 Arkansas voters who indicated they were likely to participate in the general election. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.
Click here to access the poll questions from the Governor and Senate race, including Congressional District breakouts.
"The broad depth and scope of this poll offers crucial insight as to where these two major races stand heading into the final weeks of the fall campaign," said Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock. "These won’t be the final numbers on Election Day, but we’ll be able to look at the last weeks’ developments and assess what moved these races to their ultimate conclusions."
Dr. Jay Barth, with the Hendrix College Department of Politics and International Relations, helped craft and analyze the poll. He offered the following observations from the results:
Both of the major statewide races on the ballot — those for U.S. Senate and Governor — have moved in the Democrats’ direction since we last gauged them. But, those shifts mean decidedly different things for the Democrats in those races. Senator Blanche Lincoln continues to trail badly in her race, while Governor Mike Beebe has further solidified his re-election support.
In late September, Governor Mike Beebe had a 13-point lead over his GOP opponent Jim Keet; he now shows a marginally better 16-point lead. Congressman John Boozman had a 27-point lead in our mid-September survey; his lead has now been cut in half as he leads Lincoln by 13 points.
Democratic Governor Beebe shows support from 50% of the electorate while Republican Jim Keet has the support of just over one-third of those surveyed (34%). Green Party candidate Jim Lendall, hoping to regain his party ballot access in future elections, trails with 3.5% of the vote. The remainder are undecided.
Most impressive is the geographical breadth of Beebe’s support in the race. Beebe leads in three of the four congressional districts, and he is highly competitive in the typically Republican Third District. In the other three congressional districts, Beebe has the support of a majority of the voters. In the Third, Keet has three-point lead, but neither candidate has a majority of voter support.
Beebe also leads across most demographic groups. He leads across all age groups, although nearly one-fifth of the youngest group of voters remain undecided in the race. The Governor leads among both women and men, although his support is slightly stronger among women. And, Beebe leads among the major racial/ethnic groups, gaining 48% of white voters (to Keet’s 36%) and 65.2% of African-Americans (to Keet’s 19.7%).
Finally, Beebe has solid support among Democrats (he gains 84.1%), trails slightly among among independents (36.1% for Beebe to 42% for Keet) and is gaining 17.8% of Republican voters (to Keet’s 66.8%).
With a few differences, the patterns in the U.S. Senate race are markedly similar to the Governor’s race. But, in this case, it is the Republican who leads with widespread support.
Although his margin is small (42.9%-38.5%) in Lincoln’s native First Congressional District, Boozman leads in all four congressional districts. If this pattern holds, Boozman would gain the broadest victory geographically of any Republican in the modern history of the state.
Boozman also leads among all age groups and among men. A gender gap of about 9 points does show itself in the race, with Lincoln stronger among women. Boozman leads strongly among white voters (53.6%-32.4%), but does trail among other ethnic groups.
Finally, Boozman has overwhelming support among Republicans (with 86.5%) and is easily winning independent voters (61.1%-18.6%). Among Democrats, Lincoln now gains the support of three-fourths of her party (74.2%) with Boozman gaining 12.9%. Thus, Lincoln’s situation is not as dire as was the case during the summer and early fall. But, it is hard to see how she makes up the final ground with voters beginning to cast their votes in the early voting process.
This comprehensive poll of 1,953 respondents was taken from four separate polls conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College in each of the state’s four Congressional Districts on Thursday night, October 14, 2010. The comprehensive poll, which has a margin of error of +/- 2.2%, was completed using IVR survey technology among random samples of registered Arkansas voters in all four Congressional Districts who indicated they were "likely" to vote in the November 2, 2010 general election.
There has been weighting based on age and gender, and for Congressional District balance. We did not make any adjustments for ethnicity or for party identification, which can be a fluid response unlike age, race or gender. We note that on average, the four polls conducted – and thus the comprehensive poll – had the highest number of self-identified Democrats to date.
All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business and Hendrix College.
For interviews, Brock can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Barth can be contacted at email@example.com.