Poll shows shift on marijuana, road tax proposals

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 100 views 

Arkansans may be shifting their support on medical marijuana and a more than $1.8 billion sales-tax financed highway improvement plan, according to poll results released Monday by Talk Business-Hendrix College.

The poll of 868 likely Arkansas voters may not approve the medical marijuana proposal.

In the latest poll, conducted Thursday, Oct. 18, 54% of Arkansas voters said they now oppose the citizen-led initiative. Only 38% support the proposal and 8% are undecided. In late July, the same question was asked of likely Arkansas voters with 47% saying they supported the measure and 46% opposing it.

A proposal to allow the use of medical marijuana will also be on the ballot. It would provide Arkansans the ability to use medical marijuana for serious debilitating medical conditions with a doctors recommendation, and to allow patients to purchase their medicine at a regulated not-for-profit dispensary.  If the election were held today, would you vote to allow for medical marijuana sales?
38%  Yes
54%  No
8%   Don’t Know

“There has been a very effective earned media effort from law enforcement and conservative groups since this measure made the ballot, and I suspect it has been a contributor to moving these numbers from July,” said Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock.

“That said, I still think the final numbers on this measure are fluid and far from final. There appears to be a major paid media component underway by the supporters of medicinal marijuana in Arkansas. I do feel these numbers could shift back to a much closer outcome if the opponents do not partially match the pro-forces’ efforts,” Brock added.

The cross-tabs of the poll results reveal that men and women are equally opposed to the medical marijuana proposal with 53% of both sexes against the measure.

Among ethnicity lines, Latinos support the proposal 50-39%, while Caucasian voters oppose it 53-38% and African-American voters oppose it 54%-38%.

By political affiliation, Democrats support medical marijuana 51-39%. Republican voters oppose the effort by a 71.5-23.5% margin, while Independents oppose 53-37%. Those claiming “other” political affiliations are split 47-47%.

Supporters of a temporary half-cent sales tax for a four-lane statewide highway network have managed to turn opposition in a different direction.

The Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll of 868 likely Arkansas voters finds that support for the November 6 proposal is a statistical dead heat with 44.5% in favor of the tax hike and 44% opposed. About 11.5% are undecided.

In November, Arkansas voters will consider a proposal that would temporarily increase the sales tax by a half-cent in the state. The revenue generated from the 10-year temporary tax would be used to pay for a four-lane highway system statewide. If the election were today, would you vote for a half-cent tax increase for this purpose?
44.5%    Yes
44%       No
11.5%     Don’t Know

Those numbers are different from a late July Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll that showed 42% support for the measure and 49.5% against it.

“Supporters of the temporary sales tax increase for highways have been hard at work to persuade voters to cast ballots for this measure,” Brock explained. “Through high-profile, bi-partisan endorsements and a significant grassroots and grasstops effort, there has clearly been some progress made in reshaping public opinion.”

Brock added, “With a healthy paid media effort and lack of a singular organized opposition effort, the final tally on this issue remains winnable for proponents. They’ll have to overcome a prevailing conservative, anti-tax climate, but it is certainly achievable.”


This survey was conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College on Thursday, July 19, 2012. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 868 likely Arkansas voters statewide.