FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (News release) – The 20th annual Arkansas Poll finds that a growing number of Arkansans think climate change poses an imminent risk.They are also more concerned about healthcare than in the past, and they believe the state and country have more work to do to achieve gender and racial equity. The poll also included questions about the upcoming election and current political issues.

The Arkansas Poll, designed and analyzed by Janine Parry, professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, is one of the oldest public state polls in the country. It has consistently come within two points of actual election outcomes. Over the past two decades, the poll has tracked public opinion in Arkansas through 17,000 phone interviews.

This year, the poll is based on phone interviews with 1200 randomly selected participants statewide. Sixty-one percent of all calls were conducted over cell phones. For more information about the results, protocols and historic outcomes, go to the full 2018 Arkansas Poll Summary Report.

“It’s a credit to Arkansas that this annual effort to measure and share what the public wants from policymakers has hit this milestone,” Parry said. “Based on our election prediction record, it’s clear Arkansans are honest about their preferences. But interviewers at our national call center observe that the Arkansans they spoke to were also just plain nice. That’s an important intangible that’s kept the project rolling for two decades.”

CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH CARE
For the past four years, the Arkansas poll asked: “Do you think global warming, or climate change, will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime?” This year, the number of people who answered “yes” increased by more than 50 percent, from 30 percent to 47 percent. Forty-four percent of respondents answered “no,” a decrease of 17 points from last year. In response to a question about issues facing people in Arkansas today, respondents cited health care as the most important, followed by drugs, education and the economy. This is a shift from the past two years, when respondents cited the economy as the most important issue.

FOCUS ON DIVERSITY
When asked if they thought the increasing number of people of different races, ethnic groups and nationalities in Arkansas made the state better or worse, 45 percent of Arkansas respondents said better, 45 percent said no difference and 7 percent said worse.

When asked about the effects of a growing emphasis on diversity in the workplace, 40 percent said it helped, 43 percent said it made no difference and 10 percent said it hurt.

When asked about racial equity, 75 percent of respondents said the country had more to do in that area, and 70 percent said the state had more to do. On the question of gender equity, 70 percent thought the country needed to do more, while 67 percent thought the state needed to do more.

POLITICAL AND POLICY QUESTIONS
The poll also included questions related to the upcoming election and current policy issues. The responses to these are listed below.

BALLOT MEASURES
Referred Amendment 2 – Require voters to present photo ID: 73 percent favor, 24 percent oppose.
Issue 5 – Increase minimum wage: 67 percent favor, 29 percent oppose.

GOVERNOR’S RACE
Hutchinson (R): 59 percent
Henderson (D): 35 percent
Other: 6 percent

CURRENT ISSUES
Abortion: 38 percent favor laws that would make it more difficult; 20 percent favor laws that would make it easier; 36 percent favor no change.
Gun Control: 44 percent favor stricter gun control; 10 percent favor less strict gun control; 43 percent favor no change.

The poll also included questions about party affiliation, political ideology and approval ratings of public figures.