Sanders has firm lead in GOP gubernatorial primary, Jones on track to win Democratic bid without runoff

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 3,163 views 

The general election matchup for Arkansas Governor is shaping up to be Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Democrat Chris Jones, according to a new survey from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

The surveys, conducted May 2, 2022, tested opinions of GOP and Democratic primary voters for the seat held by term-limited Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Among 802 likely Republican primary voters, the results were:

72.5% – Sarah Huckabee Sanders
16.5% – Francis “Doc” Washburn
11% – Undecided

Among 597 likely Democratic primary voters, the results were:

2% – James “Rus” Russell
3.5% – Jay Martin
59.5% – Chris Jones
3% – Anthony Bland
1.5% – Supha Xayprasith-Mays
30.5% – Undecided

Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington is a general election nominee for the governor’s seat.

“This matchup has been expected from the get-go, but our polling shows clear support for both Sanders and Jones in their respective party primaries,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief. “While Sanders was certainly expected to dominate in her primary, I think there were many questions related to Jones’ ability to win without a runoff in a crowded primary. He’s poised to do so.”

Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.

Dr. Jay Barth, emeritus professor of politics at Hendrix College, is active in Democratic Party politics and helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

“Our survey confirms one thing that we have known for a year: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is on her way to being the Republican nominee for Governor and, as a result, the strong favorite to be the next Governor of Arkansas. It also affirms something that has become increasingly clear over the months of the campaign: Democrat Chris Jones has established a strong position in his own party despite his being relatively new on the political scene.

“Sanders’ lead over an ultraconservative opponent “Doc” Washburn crosses all key social and political subgroups in the GOP electorate, but—like her mentor Donald Trump—she performs particularly strongly with voters lacking a college degree. Sanders also performs strongest among core Republican partisans, while Washburn overperforms with independents who plan to participate in the GOP primary. Sanders would be the first woman governor in the state’s history if elected and she does perform a tad stronger with female Republican voters.

“Jones has four opponents in the Democratic primary, but none has yet to gain even five percent of the Democratic electorate. Much like Sanders in the other primary, Jones shows majority strength among almost every subgroup of voter. He does run particularly strongly among college educated voters.”

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

“On the Democratic side, Chris Jones is the runaway favorite to clinch the party’s nomination for governor, garnering 60% of the vote. None of the other potential Democratic contenders even crack 5%. As the only candidate to spend any real dollars on a campaign, Jones leads the field across every demographic group. He performs slightly better among college educated voters (65%) than those without a college degree (53%).

“Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the the Republican nominee for Governor in 2022. Her lone challenger, Doc Washburn, manages to only reach 16.5% in this survey. Sanders leads handily among voters in all age groups, with her highest support coming from those 45-64 (72%) and 65+ (76%). Sanders tops 83% with self-identified Republican voters, to Washburn’s 11%. Her margin is tighter among those who consider themselves to be independents who vote Republican, leading Washburn 54% to 24%, suggesting that some ‘independents’ may be strong conservatives that are disenchanted with the Republican Party brand. When cross compared to the U.S. Senate race, Washburn’s highest support comes from Jan Morgan voters (38%), unsurprising given that both candidates occupy a similar segment of the primary electorate. Should Washburn overperform on Election Day, Jan Morgan could see a critical boost in a tight race for second place in her respective race.”

The survey of 802 likely GOP primary election voters was conducted May 2, 2022, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%. The survey of 597 likely Democratic primary election voters was conducted May 2, 2022, and has a margin of error of +/- 5.0%.

Responses were collected via SMS to an online survey and by phone. The poll is slightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education, and gender. Additional methodology is available upon request.

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. A link back to this specific story is also required for any digital or online usage by other media outlets.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at [email protected].