One of 2012’s hottest State Senate races looks to be a dead heat and voters in that district care more about local issues than national ones when voting for the State Legislature, according to a recent poll.
Democratic State Representative Tiffany Rogers is challenging incumbent Republican Jonathan Dismang in Senate District 28 in east Arkansas and a poll released today by the Rogers’ campaign shows the race is a statistical tie.
The automated poll was conducted February 25, 2012 and interviewed 400 voters and has a margin of error of 4.8%. The Rogers’ campaign provided me some highlights of their poll.
The following question was asked of all respondents and was one of the first ones asked in the poll.
Question: In the race for State Senate District 28, are you more likely to vote for:
1) Republican Jonathan Dismang – 35%
2) Democrat Tiffany Rogers – 32%
3) Undecided – 32%
This race is currently as tight as a tick and it should be viewed as a complete toss-up.
The poll question included each candidate’s partisan affiliation, which is enlightening because the Republican Party wants people to believe that running as a Democrat will get you beat in 2012. Clearly, their narrative doesn’t hold up to the facts since the Democratic challenger is only 3 points behind the Republican. 2012 ain’t 2010.
The results are bad news for incumbent Dismang because he is nowhere near the magic 50% number, which is where incumbents running for re-election should be at roughly about this time.
The poll also tested a question about whether or not voters preferred a candidate who worked with Governor Beebe or opposed him.
Question: As you make your decision to vote for State Senate are you more likely to support?
1) A member who has worked with Governor Beebe to pass the largest tax cut in state history and pass budgets that have kept our state’s budget balanced while maintaining essential services – 56%
2) A member of the opposition party to the Governor that recently attempted to hold up his budget proposals and has tried to implement multiple policies in opposition to the Governor’s agenda – 12%
3) Undecided – 31%
Voters in this district clearly want a candidate who will work with popular Democratic Governor Beebe. Dismang has been in a high-profile fight with Beebe on certain budget matters and that might not play well with the 56% of voters who want a candidate to work with the Governor.
The poll also confirmed what I believe is the reality of 2012 – all politics is local.
Question: Will national politics influence your vote on local elections or will you focus on the individual candidates running for office?
1) National Politics will influence – 19%
2) Focus on local candidates – 64%
3) Undecided – 17%
The Republican Party believes voters will vote against Barack Obama and then just vote against all other Democrats because they are members of the same party. In short, some Republicans think voters are stupid.
People will no doubt vote against Obama — Arkansans historically vote against the Democratic presidential nominee — but voters will then focus on local issues and candidates when voting for the State Legislature.
One thing to remember about these numbers is that they are from a campaign poll, and not an unaffiliated source. That being said, however, I do trust the firm that conducted the poll, The Markham Group, and do put stock in the results. Republicans will, of course, say the poll is skewed, bias, untrustworthy, etc.
Regardless, the race for State Senate District 28 is close and the Republican incumbent is in trouble. This race is likely to be won by either candidate by a razor-thin margin.