A new survey among frequent Arkansas general election voters finds Republican presumptive Presidential nominee Donald Trump with an 11-point lead over Democratic presumptive Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The latest poll from Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College was conducted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 among 751 Arkansas voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.
Survey respondents were asked:
Q: If the 2016 election were held today and your choices were Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, and Libertarian Gary Johnson, for whom would you vote?
36% Hillary Clinton
47% Donald Trump
8% Gary Johnson
9% Don’t Know
Additionally, survey respondents were asked if their Presidential selections were based on support for a candidate or in opposition to a candidate.
Q: No matter how you plan to vote for President, is your vote primarily a vote for your candidate, primarily a vote against other candidates, or an equal combination of the two?
41% Vote For My Candidate
18% A Vote Against Other Candidates
35% A Combination of the Two
6% Don’t Know
A long-standing question in TB&P-Hendrix College polling centers around the current president’s popularity. While his job approval is rising nationally, President Obama remains unpopular in the Natural State.
Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job that President Barack Obama is doing?
6% Don’t Know
More survey results will be released Monday-Wednesday from this latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll. In addition to the Presidential questions, the survey also tested Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s job approval, a match-up in the U.S. Senate race, and questions on public policy including the Private Option/Arkansas Works, bathroom gender, and medical marijuana.
Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
Donald Trump holds an 11-point lead over former Secretary of State (and former Arkansas First Lady) Hillary Clinton in Arkansas, 47%-36%. The survey, which also included Libertarian Gary Johnson, shows the former New Mexico Governor at 8% and 9% of Arkansas voters still unclear in their preference.
For comparison’s sake, in our survey four years ago just after Mitt Romney wrapped up the GOP nomination, Romney led President Obama 56.5% to 33% and went on to win just over 60% of the statewide vote in November. Thus, while Trump lacks the strength of previous GOP candidates in a state that has become consistently Republican in its statewide voting patterns, Hillary Clinton has not been able to take full advantage of that weakness and trails by double digits.
While neither of the two major party candidates has majority support, Trump leads with most, but not all, demographic, geographical, and political groups in the state. The presumptive GOP nominee leads with all age groups, although interestingly Clinton does best with senior citizens with the longest connections to the Clinton political brand.
Trump wins just at half of Arkansas’s white voters, while Clinton is the preference of 91% of African-Americans. A gender gap does show itself in this snapshot of Arkansas voters with Trump leading among men 52% to 31% while leading among women by a narrower 43.5%-40%.
The major party candidates are gaining just over 80% of their partisan identifiers (somewhat low in a presidential race), while Trump leads among independent voters 57% to 19% with 13% supporting Johnson. In recent cycles, Arkansas’s independent voters have skewed decidedly Republican and that trend continues with Trump’s candidacy.
Clinton does lead in the Second Congressional District (central Arkansas), but Trump has majorities in the First (east Arkansas) and Third (northwest Arkansas) Districts and a plurality in the Fourth Congressional District.
Considering the strongly negative perceptions of the two major party candidates nationally, we investigated whether Arkansas voters felt that they were generally voting “for” a candidate or voting “against” other candidates on the ballot.
Most voters (41%) feel that their vote is driven by support for a candidate or by a combination of vote for a candidate and negative feelings towards other alternatives (35%). Interestingly, it is Clinton supporters who are most likely to say they they are voting for their candidate (just at six in ten express some enthusiasm for Secretary Clinton). For those expressing support for Trump, just over a third of the electorate (36.5%) sees their preference as being enthusiasm for Trump while 23% are voting primarily against other candidates. Unsurprisingly, the portion of the electorate who would cast a vote for Libertarian Johnson are driven wholly (40%) or partly (43%) by concerns about the other candidates.
One political dynamic at work in recent weeks has been the rebound of President Obama’s approval ratings into positive turf nationally. Unsurprisingly, considering Arkansans’ overwhelmingly negative perceptions of the President across his term, this pattern is not showing itself in the Natural State. Obama is under water with all groups in the state with the exception of African-Americans (88% approval of the President) and Democrats (75% approval of Obama). Thus, while Obama is becoming a net asset for Democrat Clinton across much of the nation, such is not the case in Arkansas.
You can watch video analysis from Dr. Barth in the interview below.
This survey was conducted on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-3.6%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 751 Arkansas frequent voters statewide.
All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.