Public Policy Polling last night released a round of Arkansas polling and it shows Republicans leading in everything sampled. Results in low-profile statewide offices produce uniform results in the range of 45-38 Republican over Democrat.
PPP does robo-polling and has Democratic roots, for the record. Here’s its analysis.
Among the findings: Tom Cotton over Mark Pryor 49-41 in the race for U.S. Senate and Asa Hutchinson over Mike Ross 51-41 in the race for governor.
The sad news in the polling is what it tells us about the electorate in a state that once reflexively voted Democratic. It’s approaching a reflexive majority Republican vote.
There’s no better judge than polling in the six statewide offices other than governor. I’d guess no more than a third of Arkansas voters (and I’m being generous) could name the major party candidates for the offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer and land commissioner.
The polling is strikingly uniform, however: The Republican candidate in these six races all draw between 44 and 47 percent in the PPP poll. The Democrats cluster between 36 and 40. The highest numbers go to Tim Griffin (46) and Mark Martin (47) who undoubtedly get a small bump from the name recognition value of currently holding public office.
I judge these results as party line voting, just as in 2010 when it propelled Republicans Mark Darr, Martin and John Thurston into office as relative unknowns against strong and even well-known Democratic candidates. That anti-Obama tide shows no sign of ebbing. Obama’s departure seems unlikely to alter the new dynamic, (Interestingly poll respondents identified 39-29 as Democrats over Republicans. I think pretty clearly the reflexive Republican vote is higher even if some aren’t ready to adopt the label.)
The highest polling Democrat in these offices is Nate Steel, trailing the unqualified Leslie Rutledge 44-40. He has some ad money. Undecided numbers in each race offer some hope for Steel and other Democrats, particularly self-financed lieutenant governor candidate John Burkhalter, trailing Griffin 46-38, but indications are that the undecided and independent voters in Arkansas lean Republican,
The minimum wage increase enjoys huge support (65-31), even 47 percent support among people who voted for Romney in 2012. Internal numbers show the president’s disapproval rating as a huge ball-and-chain on Democratic candidates.
Demographics: Only a narrow gender gap for Pryor and a virtual even split in the governor’s race. Not good for the Democrats.
Voters love Mike Beebe still.
I happened to have been sampled by this poll. I guess more will come today on some questions about the 2016 presidential race.
BY THE WAY: Here’s a New York Times article on why corporate money is flowing into races for attorney general through partisan umbrella groups. It’s smelly. On both sides.