Arkansans Agree With Darr Resignation Decision

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 108 views 

An overwhelming majority of Arkansans agree with Lt. Gov. Mark Darr’s decision to step down from his post on Feb. 1.

In the last round of polling from a Jan. 19, 2014 Talk Business-Hendrix College survey of 520 likely Arkansas voters, Arkansans said the state’s highest ranking elected Republican made the right call to eventually step down.

Q. Lt. Governor Mark Darr has announced that he will resign from office on February 1 as a result of ethics violations.  Should Darr have left office or stayed in office to complete his term?

11.5%  Darr should have stayed in office
75%     Darr should have resigned
13.5%  Don’t Know

In late December, Darr accepted an $11,000 fine – the largest ethics fine in Arkansas history – after revelations of errors on his campaign finance reports became public. The Arkansas Ethics Commission found that Darr misspent more than $44,000 in both campaign and public funds.

He fought calls for his resignation for several days and held a series of meetings with reporters to say he would not step down. Democrats and Republican leaders said if Darr didn’t resign, they would begin impeachment proceedings. Three days later, Darr said he would resign on Feb. 1, 2014 – still leaving speculation as to how his forthcoming vacancy may be filled.

Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, helped construct and analyze the poll. He noted:

One of the biggest stories in Arkansas political news in recent months has been the fall of Lt. Governor Mark Darr resulting in his announcement that he intends to leave his post on February 1 because of a series of ethical violations.  

Arkansans are in consensus that Darr’s decision to leave office was the right action with just at three in four voters in agreement. Although there is some partisan division on the question, even two-thirds of Arkansas self-identified Republicans support this move by Darr.

The latest poll was conducted in advance of a forum for potential political candidates. Democrats and Republicans who participated in the Electric Cooperatives-Arkansas Broadcasters Association non-partisan seminar also received responses from Arkansans on the topics of essential political traits and top issues for voters (released earlier this week).

Results of those questions were as follows:

Q: What traits do you see as most essential in your political leaders?

13%  Intelligence
19%  Shares my views on issues
45%  Honesty
9%    Work ethic
14%  Other

Q. What is the most important issue facing people in Arkansas today?

14%  Education
55%  Economy and Jobs
9%    Crime
16%  Healthcare
6%    Some Other Issue

Barth noted:

On the issue of honesty by governmental officials, we also asked voters the most important traits for public officials.  Just under half of the voters (45%) said that honesty was the most desirable trait in an political leader.  

This was a plurality view across all political and demographic groups although it was particularly important for the oldest of Arkansas voters with 54% of those 65 or older identifying this trait as most crucial.  While personal honesty was identified as crucial across partisan groups, Republicans were slightly more likely to identify the leader “sharing their values” as vital while Democrats were more likely to identify “intelligence” as crucial. 

Finally, while personal honesty was important for male and female respondents, men were more likely to skew toward “sharing their values” than were females.

This survey was conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College on Sunday, January 19, 2014. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4.3%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 520 Arkansas likely voters statewide.

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, contact Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock by email at [email protected] or Dr. Jay Barth by email at [email protected].