Arkansas poll finds more than 60 percent support for Trump, Cotton

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Healthcare and the economy lead list of voter concerns, while more people cite politics as an issue in poll's history

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.- The 22nd annual Arkansas Poll released Wednesday found more than 60% of Arkansans support President Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton.

The poll also found voters were most concerned about healthcare and the economy.

Politics was a top issue for more than 20% of people who responded to the poll, which was a first in the poll’s history.

According to a news release sent Wednesday by the University of Arkansas, the 2020 poll focused on the presidential and U.S. Senate races, statewide ballot measures, elected officials’ approval ratings when it comes to handling the coronavirus outbreak and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. U of A officials say the poll included a panel of questions to gauge people’s “intercultural competence,” which is defined as the capacity to recognize, acknowledge and respect cultural differences. The poll also revisited annual questions on abortion, gun laws and global warming.

According to the University of Arkansas, the top three concerns this year were healthcare (24%), the economy (23%) and politicians/politics (20%).

Janine Parry, professor of political science at the U of A, says the concern about politicians/politics reflects an increasing level of political discord in the country.

“If Republicans and Democrats agree on just one thing in 2020, it’s that the republic is in bad shape,” Parry said.

Parry also said support for the Republicans in Arkansas’s two statewide, high-profile contests indicates the increasing strength of the party, continuing a decade-long trend.

“While it appears President Trump will win fewer states nationwide in 2020 then he did in 2016, Arkansas is likely to be one of the few states in which he actually increases his vote share,” Parry said. “This speaks to Arkansas’s recent switch to the Republican brand, a wholesale reversal of fortune in just a decade’s time.”

Parry noted the poll results show the percentage of respondents who identify as Republican is at an all-time high (44%) and the number identifying as Democrat is at an all-time low (20%). Twenty-nine percent of respondents identified as independents. Among those who identified themselves as independents, 85% said they feel “close to” one of the major parties, according to the news release. Parry said this leaves very few swing voters who decided Arkansas elections in the past.

“In short, not only has Arkansas now fully realigned (about 25 years after most of her southern peers), but – as we see nationally – almost no one is left in the middle,” Parry said.

Here are the findings from the Arkansas Poll:

Presidential Race:
Trump: 65%
Biden: 32%
Other: 3%

U.S. Senate Race:
Cotton: 75%
Harrington: 20%
Other: 5%

Amendment Extending Half-Cent Sales Tax for Roads and Highways:
Favor: 62%
Oppose: 38%

Amendment to Change Term Limits for State Legislators:
Favor: 60%
Oppose: 40%

Amendment to Change Requirements for Ballot Initiatives and Referrals:
Favor: 41%
Oppose: 59%

According to the University of Arkansas, 59% of those polled said President Trump was doing an excellent or good job with handling the coronavirus, while 40% put his performance at fair or poor.

According to the news release, the president outperformed state officials (54% excellent or good, 44% fair or poor), but underperformed local officials (60% excellent or good, 37% fair or poor) and local hospitals (78% excellent or good, 18% fair or poor).

According to the poll, 44% of Arkansans said they strongly or somewhat supported the Black Lives Matter movement, while 52% said they strongly or somewhat opposed it.

Officials with the U of A say Arkansans with higher levels of education and income showed higher levels of intercultural competency, as did people who identified themselves as moderates or liberals.

According to the news release, the poll was conducted through 804 phone interviews with randomly-selected Arkansas adults between October 9 and October 21.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4%.

To see the 2020 Arkansas Poll Summary report, click here.

To see the 2020 Arkansas Poll protocol, click here.

For more on the Arkansas Poll, click here.


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