The University of Arkansas’ annual Arkansas Poll finds Republicans Tom Cotton and Asa Hutchinson holding big leads among very likely voters as the election nears.
In the U.S. Senate race, Cotton leads Sen. Mark Pryor among very likely voters, 49-36%. In the governor’s race, Hutchinson leads Mike Ross among very likely voters, 50-39%. Results were announced in a press release Thursday morning.
Cotton leads Pryor, 57-36% among men, while the two candidates each have the support of 42% of women. The 15-point gender gap is the largest the poll has found in the decade it has been measuring it. Moreover, 13% of women but only 7% of men are still undecided or refused to answer the question.
The poll was conducted by Issues & Answers Network Oct. 21-27 and was sponsored by the University of Arkansas’ Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society. UA political scientist Janine Parry designed and analyzed the poll.
Pollsters conducted 747 live telephone interviews. Twenty-five percent of respondents used their cell phones all or most of the time. This is the poll’s 16th year.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%, meaning that researchers are 95% confident that it accurately measures public opinion within that amount in either direction.
Respondents were given only a generic party choice in congressional and state legislative races. In U.S. House races, Republicans led Democrats, 47-33%. In state legislative races, Republicans led, 45-36%.
Respondents by a count of 59-27% oppose Issue 3, which would regulate lobbying and extend term limits. They oppose Issue 4, which would allow alcohol sales in all counties, 51-41%. They support Issue 5, which would increase the minimum wage, 69-24%.
The poll indicates Arkansans are more pessimistic about the state’s future than they have been in the past. Fifty-seven percent of overall respondents and 60% of very likely voters answered “right direction” when asked, “Overall, do you feel that Arkansas is generally headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?” That’s the lowest percentage in the poll’s history. Twenty-five percent of all respondents and 27% of likely voters said “wrong direction” – the highest percentage since 2003.
However, 22% of respondents said they were better off financially this year, compared to 14% who said so last year, while 24% said they were worse off, compared to 26% last year.
The poll also found:
- 49% of respondents favor allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens, a drop from 59% from a year ago, while 29% favor deporting all undocumented immigrants, an increase from 21% last year. Eight percent favor allowing them to work for a limited time in the United States.
- The Affordable Care Act was viewed more unfavorably than favorably, 55-27%.
- On gun control, 32% support stricter laws, 19% favor less restrictions, and 43% support no change – numbers similar to last year’s.
- Forty percent said abortions should be more difficult to obtain, 11% said they should be easier to obtain, and 37% support no change in the law.
- Forty-eight percent support there being no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship, 21% favor legalizing gay marriage, and 21% support civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The poll also found that only 13% of respondents said journalists had high or very high standards for ethics and honesty, while 41% said they were low or very low and 37% said standards were average.
You can access more data and poll results at this link.