Trump, Boozman maintain big leads in Arkansas

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 118 views 

GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump hasn’t seen his poll numbers slide any in the last month, despite controversies and lackluster debate performances. As a matter of fact, the Republican standard-bearer slightly grew his lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the former First Lady of Arkansas’ one-time home state.

In the U.S. Senate race, the contest has tightened between incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman and Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge, but Boozman still maintains a comfortable 18-point lead.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey, conducted among 463 likely Arkansas voters on October 21, 2016, produced the following results:

Q: If the election for President were today, which candidate would you support?

32.5% Democrat Hillary Clinton
56% Republican Donald J. Trump
3.5% Libertarian Gary Johnson
2% Green Party candidate Jill Stein
1% Other
5% Undecided

Q: If the election for U.S. Senate were today, which candidate would you support?

52% Republican Senator John Boozman
34% Democrat Conner Eldridge
4% Libertarian Frank Gilbert
2% Other
8% Undecided

In mid-September polling, Trump led Clinton 55-34%, while Boozman led Eldridge 55-29%.

“Arkansas voters seem unfazed by Donald Trump’s controversies and the results of this latest poll reinforce Arkansas’ solidification as a Republican state,” said Talk Business & Politics CEO Roby Brock. “The strength of these Republican numbers at the top of the ticket could affect turnout and voter preference down-ballot in legislative and local races.”

Talk Business & Politics has released polling results on two medical marijuana initiatives that shows them trailing in support. On Tuesday, results will be released on Issues 2 and 3, which will appear on the November ballot.

ANALYSIS
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:

While there is strong evidence in national and swing state polling that – following an action-packed campaign in which debates, sexual assault allegations, and tax returns have damaged the GOP nominee Donald Trump – Democrat Hillary Clinton has opened a meaningful national lead in the race for the White House, our survey indicates that Arkansans are impervious to these national trends, staying loyal to the GOP nominee (or at least to his party).

Trump leads with all age groups across the state, running particularly well with those in the 30-44 age range. He is also winning in all corners of the state, although his lead is more precarious in the Second Congressional District (where he leads with only a plurality).

Nationally, we have seen Trump performing particularly poorly with the best educated Americans. In Arkansas, however, he leads with voters of all educational levels. Clinton does lead with all non-white voters, but Trump runs up a large lead with white Arkansans, which constitute 8 in 10 voters. She also leads with non-churchgoers, a minority of the Arkansas population, but those who are more religiously active support Trump.

Most interestingly, and unlike the national picture, there is no significant gender gap in Arkansas. While Trump retains a solid lead in the presidential race, the race for the U.S. Senate has closed slightly as challenger Conner Eldridge has gone up on the air with advertising. While he still trails incumbent Republican John Boozman, Eldridge now leads fellow Democrat Clinton in the state. There is some suggestion that the Arkansas Senate race could have become more competitive if Eldridge had been able to go on the air earlier to introduce himself to voters and point out the more controversial elements of Boozman’s record.

Looking at the crosstabs, the patterns shown in the presidential race are repeated in the U.S. Senate race. Aside from a slightly larger gender gap (Boozman performs better with men and Eldridge better with women), the incumbent senator performs more strongly with religious, white, and older voters — all normal patterns in contemporary Arkansas politics.

Boozman still seems on his way to a solid reelection, but as an incumbent who is not widely known among Arkansans, some softness in his support is evidenced.

METHODOLOGY
This survey was conducted on October 21, 2016. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4.6%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 463 Arkansas likely 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.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at roby@talkbusiness.net or Dr. Jay Barth by email at barth@hendrix.edu.

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