Poll: Incumbent Republicans in driver’s seat in all 4 Congressional races

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 4,096 views 

Arkansas’ four incumbent Republican Congressmen are all ahead in their re-election bids with less than 60 days until the November general election. A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of all four Congressional Districts shows the Second District race is the tightest.

Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College conducted four different surveys of more than 400 likely voters on the same nights last week (Sept. 5-7) to determine the latest results.

“The blue wave that may be hitting nationally is yet to play out strongly in Arkansas. It looks like the red tide is holding at this point,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics editor-in-chief. “With millions more to be spent, I think the Second District race between French Hill and Clarke Tucker remains one to watch. Certainly, performance by Republicans and Democrats – as well as the governor’s race – could still impact several tight state legislative races statewide, too.”

Here is the list of results for each Congressional race:

Arkansas First Congressional District
422 respondents
Margin of Error +/- 4.7%

Q. If the election for Congress in the 1st Congressional District were being held today and the candidates were: Congressman Rick Crawford, the Republican, Chintan Desai, the Democrat, and Elvis Presley, the Libertarian, for whom would you vote?

57%   Congressman Rick Crawford
22%   Chintan Desai
3%     Elvis Presley
18%   Undecided

Arkansas Second Congressional District
428 respondents
Margin of Error +/- 4.7%

Q. If the election for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District were being held today and the candidates were: Representative Clarke Tucker, the Democrat, Congressman French Hill, the Republican, and Joe Swafford, the Libertarian, for whom would you vote?

40.5%   Representative Clarke Tucker
49.5%   Congressman French Hill
2%         Joe Swafford
8%        Undecided

Arkansas Third Congressional District
428 respondents
Margin of Error +/- 4.7%

Q. If the election for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District were being held today and the candidates were: Michael Kalagias, the Libertarian, Congressman Steve Womack, the Republican, and Josh Mahony, the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

5%     Michael Kalagias
53%   Congressman Steve Womack
31%    Josh Mahony
11%    Undecided

Arkansas Fourth Congressional District
423 respondents
Margin of Error +/- 4.7%

Q. If the election for Congress in the 4th Congressional District were being held today and the candidates were Representative Bruce Westerman, the Republican, Hayden Shamel, the Democrat, and Tom Canada, the Libertarian, for whom would you vote?

54%   Representative Bruce Westerman
24%   Hayden Shamel
5%      Tom Canada
17%    Undecided

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:

“Two years ago, three of the four GOP incumbents for Congress from Arkansas had no Democratic opposition at all and the fourth (CD-2’s French Hill) faced token opposition. In 2018, in all four Congressional districts, Democrats have been able to field legitimate candidates against the four Republican incumbents. However, in three of the four congressional districts, the GOP incumbents have monstrous fundraising advantages and national organizations are paying little attention. The race that everyone is watching is Hill’s because Democrats were able to recruit their top candidate into the race, Little Rock state Representative Clarke Tucker.

“In the three lower-key races, the results look markedly similar in this post-Labor Day snapshot. All of the incumbents are in the mid-50’s and the Democrats trail by significant margins. The closest race is interesting, however, in that Democrat Josh Mahony is running closest to the Third District incumbent Steve Womack. This is notable because the district is the most Republican in its electoral history and partisan leanings (our sample shows it at 45% GOP) and Womack is the best known of the three non-CD-2 incumbents. There are some indications that long-discussed shifts in the Third District, driven by massive demographic change in Benton and Washington counties, may be beginning. They are not significant enough to benefit Mahony in this cycle, but they indicate that the Third District may be one to watch moving forward.

“In two of the districts, Chintan Desai in Rick Crawford’s First District and Hayden Shamel in Bruce Westerman’s Fourth, the Democratic candidates are underperforming with the party base as they have lacked the resources to fully introduce themselves. Mahony is performing quite well with the small number of Democratic identifiers in the Third District.

“The race that everyone is watching, however, is in Central Arkansas. At this point, our survey shows that French Hill has a high-single digit lead over Tucker. To make progress in the coming months, several things have to happen for Tucker. First, he must boost turnout to the point that Pulaski County makes up a higher percentage of the District’s vote than in 2016 when it was 52% of the district vote and also ensure younger voters turn out (Tucker is winning a majority of 18 to 29 year old voters). Second, his support is quite soft for a Democrat in the urban county that is both candidates’ home; Tucker must run up a margin more in Pulaski County and, at present, Hill maintains a slight lead there. Third, Tucker must more fully introduce himself to African-Americans, many of whom lack familiarity with the lawmaker. Finally, Tucker must improve his numbers with women in the district. His advertising campaign is definitely focused on women voters at present.  Hill has advantages in the more suburban and rural areas of the district (although our small sample in Faulkner County indicates some softness for him there) and with male voters (Hill leads 56%-36% among men). Those advantages can be overcome by Tucker, but advantage Hill at the present.”

Robert Coon, managing partner with Impact Management Group, also helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

CD1 –
“Congressman Rick Crawford is on his way to a comfortable win on November 6th. Crawford leads Democratic challenger Chintan Desai among both male and female voters and across all age groups – even 18-29 year olds where Democratic candidates often perform well. Crawford pulls a healthy chunk of Democratic voters (18.3%), compared to Desai’s 4.7% support among Republicans. Among Independents, Crawford hits nearly 60%, leading Desai by a factor of 3 to 1, further cementing his re-election prospects.”

CD2 –
“Apart from being slightly under 50%, the numbers for Congressman French Hill in this survey are generally positive. Hill leads Democratic challenger State Representative Clarke Tucker by 9 percentage points largely due to wide margins in the central Arkansas counties that surround Pulaski. Hill also leads Tucker by a slim margin in Pulaski County (~3%). Tucker’s best performing county is Faulkner, where he leads Hill by 6.5%, and he tops 50% with voters 18-29 (53.2%). Hill leads among all other age categories. A large number of African American voters are undecided in this race (24.8%), yet a high percentage of those should coalesce around Tucker down the stretch. Men are breaking significantly towards Hill (55.6% – 35.6%) while the race among women is much closer – 44.2% for Hill and 42.7% for Tucker. Overall Democrats and Republicans are near mirror images in their support for their party’s candidates, with Tucker taking 82% of Democrats and Hill taking 89.8% of Republicans. As one might expect in a purple district like CD2, this race could ultimately be decided by Independents, who as of now prefer Hill by a small margin – (46.2% – 41.4%).”

CD3 –
“Congressman Steve Womack leads his closest opponent in the race for CD3 by roughly 22 percentage points. Womack leads among all age groups, and is particularly strong among voters 45-64 (58%) and 65+ (58.2%). Democratic challenger Josh Mahony performs well among his Democratic base (88.2%), while Womack hits nearly the same level with Republicans (87.7%). Combined with the larger Republican voting block in the 3rd district, Womack’s lead among Independent voters (6.6%) further solidifies his path to victory. As we have seen in some other districts in this survey, male and female voters both prefer the Republican candidate with men marginally higher in their support.”

CD4 –
“Congressman Bruce Westerman, leads opponents Hayden Shamel and Tom Canada handily less than 60 days out. Democrats favor Hamel with 68.4%, yet Westerman draws a notable 20.4% from his opponent’s Democratic base. A majority of Independents favor Westerman (55.1%), while he draws 77.5% support from Republicans – a figure that should increase as GOP voters solidify around him in the home stretch. Men strongly prefer Westerman (58%), while support from women is lower (46.6%), but still leads all candidates.”

All four Congressional Districts have different levels of respondents and small variations in weighting. For a copy of demographics for a specific Congressional District, please email [email protected]

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 [email protected] or Dr. Jay Barth by email at [email protected]

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