A new Talk Business poll is out that shows state Rep. Clarke Tucker with a big lead in the Democratic primary race for the Second Congressional District seat. Tucker is around 30 points ahead of his rivals, but nearly a third of those polled remain undecided.

Tucker was favored by 41 percent of the likely Democratic primary voters polled. Trailing him: teacher and activist Gwen Combs with 11 percent, teacher and activist Paul Spencer with 10 percent, and Clinton School of Public Service project manager Jonathan Dunkley with 6 percent. That left 32 percent who did not know.


If the poll proves an accurate predictor of election day, the big question will be whether Tucker can peel off enough undecided voters to top 50 percent and avoid a runoff.

Tucker’s opponents have all run to his left, each in their own way vying for the Bernie vote (all three strongly support a “Medicare for All” plank; Tucker supports protecting and expanding coverage through the existing Affordable Care Act but stops short of backing single payer). To the extent there is an anti-establishment element in the primary, this poll suggests it may be split. Of course, a hefty portion of undecided voters remain in a race where even Tucker’s name may be unfamiliar to rank-and-file voters outside of his state House district who aren’t political junkies.


Tucker, the establishment favorite who has brought in by far the biggest fundraising haul, recently started airing two television ads. Spencer, who has also brought in his own impressive hauls from individual donors (Spencer won’t take PAC money), has decided against television advertising, investing instead in field organizing and targeted social media. He released the first in a series of five issue-based 30-second videos last week. “Our ads demonstrate specific policies and how they benefit working families, rather than the vague ideas presented by Rep. Tucker,” Spencer’s spokesperson stated.

The Talk Business poll, done in conjunction with Hendrix College, has a good track record on local races. This telephone survey of 624 likely Democratic primary voters, was conducted last week, and has a margin of error of 3.9 percent.


For the poll nerds, here’s the methodology, via Talk Business:

This survey of 624 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted on Tuesday-Thursday, May 1-3, 2018. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-3.9%, was completed using live callers via cell phone and IVR survey technology. Respondents were chosen from a random sample of Arkansas Democratic primary voters who voted in at least one of the last three primary elections and whom indicated their likelihood to vote this year. Age was weighted.

Age (weighted according to 2016 state Democratic primary vote)
10% Under the age of 30
19% Between the ages of 30 and 44
37% Between the ages of 45 and 64
34% 65 or older

1% Asian-American
23% African-American
1% Latino
69% Caucasian or White
6% Other

38% Male
62% Female

2.5% Did not complete high school
13% High School Graduate
25% Some College
32% Graduated College
27.5% Post-Grad Degree

Pulaski County vs. Non-Pulaski County
66% Pulaski County
34% Non-Pulaski County

Live Caller vs. IVR
24% Live Caller/cell phones
76% IVR