Arkansas Poll: Trump, Boozman, marijuana amendment lead

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 278 views 

Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. John Boozman have large leads while the Medical Marijuana Amendment has a small one in the latest Arkansas Poll.

The 18th annual poll was designed and analyzed by Janine Perry, University of Arkansas political science professor. It was sponsored by the UA’s Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society. Eight hundred voters were randomly selected Oct. 18-25 and interviewed by phone, with 40% of those by cell phone.

Trump led Hillary Clinton among very likely voters, 51-31%, with 18% voting for someone else, saying they don’t know or refusing to answer. Among all respondents, it was 44-31-24.

In the Senate race, Boozman led Democrat Conner Eldridge among very likely voters, 47-29%, with 23% giving another answer. Among all respondents, it was 42-27-32.

Boozman’s approval rating was 38% among very likely voters while 29% disapproved and 33% didn’t know or refused to answer. Among all respondents, the ratings were 35-25-40. His approval rating among very likely voters has dropped six points while his disapproval rating has risen 11 points from 2015, when 44% approved and 18% disapproved.

Among very likely voters, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment was favored by 49% and opposed by 47%, while it led among all respondents, 50-43. In 2012, a medical marijuana measure trailed 43-53% among very likely voters before failing narrowly at the polls.

Among other officeholders, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., had a 50-29% approval-disapproval rating among very likely voters and a 45-27 rating overall – numbers little changed from the year before. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had a 66% approval rating among very likely voters and a 60% approval rating overall, while 18% of very likely voters and 17% of all respondents disapproved. The numbers were up slightly from 2015, when 63% of very likely voters and 57% of all voters expressed approval. Hutchinson’s predecessor, Gov. Mike Beebe, had approval ratings of 70% among very likely voters and 67% of all respondents in 2014, his last year in office.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating among very likely voters was 36% with 60% disapproval ratings – better numbers, actually, than President George W. Bush’s in 2007, when his rating among all respondents was 30-65.

Independents represented the largest group of Arkansans, as 36% of very likely voters and 37% of all respondents described themselves that way. Another 34% of very likely voters and 29% of all respondents described themselves as Republicans, while 26% of very likely voters and 25% of all respondents said they were Democrats. Among the independents, 45% of very likely voters and 37% of all respondents said they were closer to Republicans, while 19% of very likely voters and 18% of all respondents said they were closer to Democrats. The rest said they were “just independent.”

As for political ideology, 49% of very likely voters and 45% of all respondents said they are conservative, while 30% of very likely voters and 29% of all respondents said they are moderate and 14% of very likely voters and 13% of all respondents said they are liberal.

A majority of Arkansans said the state is moving in the right direction (63% very likely voters, 57% all respondents), while 27% of very likely voters and 26% of all respondents said it is moving in the wrong direction. The economy was cited by 28% of very likely voters as the most important issue facing Arkansas, while healthcare ranked second at 20%. Other choices given respondents were politicians/politics (16%), education (14%), crime (11%) and taxes (5%).

Concerning abortion, 48% of very likely voters and 46% of all respondents said abortions should be more difficult to obtain, while 14% and 13% said they should be easier. Meanwhile, 33% and 32% said there should be no change.

Arkansans still largely oppose recognizing same-sex marriages, with 60% of very likely voters and 57% of all respondents saying no while 33% of both types of respondents said those marriages should be recognized. The numbers of supporters increased from a year ago, when 27% of very likely voters and 29% of all respondents favored recognition.

A majority of Arkansans favor no change to gun laws (53% very likely voters, 52% all voters), while 31% of both very likely voters and all respondents favor stricter laws and 14% of both favor less strict laws.

The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, had a 27-50% unfavorable rating among very likely voters, with 23% saying they didn’t know or refusing to answer. Among all respondents, it was 25-47-28.

Asked about global warming or climate change, 45% of very likely voters and 50% of all respondents said the seriousness of the issue is “generally exaggerated,” while those saying the seriousness is “generally correct” were 22% of very likely voters and 21% of all respondents. Describing the threat as “generally underestimated” were 25% of very likely voters and 26% of all respondents. Still, 67% of very likely voters and 64% of all respondents said climate change would not represent a serious threat in their lifetime.

Asked about journalists’ honesty and ethical standards, 44% of very likely voters said they were low or very low, while 15% said they were high or very high and 33% said they were average.

The poll found that 33% of very likely voters correctly identified the length of a U.S. senator’s term as six years, and that was when given four choices. Meanwhile, 56% identified the president as the person responsible for nominating federal judges, again when given four choices.