The 18th Arkansas Poll was released this morning and the sampling of Arkansas political opinion is just about as bad as I expected. (Or good, I guess, if you are in the Trumpian majority.)
The poll is sponsored by the University of Arkansas and Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society. It questioned 800 voters Oct. 18-27 in a sample drawn from landline and cell phone (40 percent) numbers. It has a good record of matching election outcomes, so, without further ado (all percentages expressed are for “very likely” voters):
* PRESIDENT: Donald Trump, 59; Hillary Clinton, 36. (18 percent of the sample was undecided, but that number was removed from the tally.
* U.S. SENATE: Republican John Boozman, 61; Conner Eldridge, 38. (This race had 23 percent still undecided. Again the percentages are for those decided.)
* ISSUE 6, MEDICAL MARIJUANA: For, 51 percent; Against, 49 percent. (again, with undecideds removed.)
* ISSUE 7, MEDICAL MARIJUANA (not currently valid): For, 45; against, 51 when identified as including “grow your own,” but 48-45 when that fact is excluded from question.
* GUN LAWS:
For stricter laws: 31 percent
For less strict laws: 14 percent
No change to current gun laws: 53 percent
Make it more difficult: 48 percent
Make is easier: 14 percent
No change to current law: 33 percent
Further commentary from the release:
In other questions, 45 percent of respondents said reports of climate change are generally exaggerated. And 63 percent of respondents said they feel that Arkansas is generally headed in the right direction.
Andy Brownback from the economics faculty also said an experiment illustrated that voters here might tend to be more bipartisan than they appear. In short, they might express agreement with a candidate they otherwise oppose if they can do so in private.
In the “list experiment” portion, Brownback and economics graduate student Aaron Novotny wondered if being observed influenced support for political candidates.
Respondents were split into two groups that were each read the same four statements about the economy, President George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy, global warming and the NRA. At the end, one group was explicitly asked if they often find themselves agreeing with Donald Trump and the other was queried more discretely.
“When we compared the results for the two groups, there are small, statistically insignificant differences that suggest that people may be more likely to express support for Donald Trump when their support is not explicitly observed,” Brownback said. “But, closer examination revealed something bigger. A significant portion of Clinton supporters (32 percent) expressed agreement with Trump when asked implicitly and support dropped to just 7 percent when they were asked explicitly.”
Other stuff: Gov. Asa Hutchinson has a 60 percent/ 17 percent approval/disapproval rating among all respondents; Sen. Boozman, by comparison, is 35-25; Sen. Tom Cotton is 45/27. President Obama scored 37/56.
41 percent of those sample never read a daily newspaper, up from 27 percent in 2014.
Same-sex marriage may be legal, but Arkies don’t like it. Only 33 percent favored it; 57 percent opposed.
In party identification, Republicans outnumbered Democrats for the first time.
Among very likely voters, 34 percent identified as Republicans, 26 percent as Democrats and 36 percent as independents (who lean right.)