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Poll shows Arkansans backing Romney, split on ballot measures

By Katie Doherty

This article was published October 24, 2012 at 8:48 a.m.

A University of Arkansas poll released Wednesday found a strong preference among Arkansans for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to win the presidential election over President Barack Obama but showed a much more divided sentiment when it comes to a pair of measures on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The 14th annual Arkansas Poll also depicted a state whose residents are worried about the economy but are enthusiastic about their governor and confident in the direction of the state, poll director Janine Parry said in a statement.

In addition, the poll found that 43 percent of Arkansans want to expand Medicaid to provide health insurance to more low-income people, while 45 percent wanted to keep the program as it is, with no additional federal funding and no change in who is covered.

When asked about allowing illegal aliens who graduate from high school in the state to qualify for in-state college tuition, 58 percent disapproved, while 33 percent favored granting DREAM Act recipients in-state tuition.

The poll also asked “very likely” voters about support for two measures on the Nov. 6 ballot: the first to increase the state sales tax to fund road construction; and the second to legalize the medical use of marijuana for certain conditions. Among those surveyed, 53 percent favored the sales-tax measure, while 42 percent opposed it, UA said. When it comes to the medical-marijuana measure, 53 percent opposed the measure, while 43 percent favored it.

For the presidential race, “very likely” voters in Arkansas favored Romney over Obama by a wide margin, 58 percent to 31 percent.

“To the surprise of no one, there’s at least a 20 point gap between Obama and Romney among Arkansas voters,” Parry said. “A more interesting finding may be the continued enthusiasm for Gov. Mike Beebe. Since 2007, approval of Gov. Beebe has never dipped below 70 percent. That level of support for a Democratic governor in a Southern state is remarkable in this political climate.”

There was little change in the approval ratings for other elected officials since 2011, UA said. Among “very likely” Arkansan voters, 45 percent approved of Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman’s performance and 53 percent approved of U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat.

When asked about life in Arkansas, 73 percent of poll respondents agreed, “Arkansas is generally headed in the right direction,” UA said.

The economy again led the list of most important issues to Arkansans, with 47 percent naming the economy as their chief concern. Health care was listed as the top priority by 15 percent of respondents, drugs by 12 percent and education by 11 percent. Taxes and immigration followed in the single digits.

The poll, conducted by Issues & Answers Network from Oct. 9-14, randomly surveyed 800 adult state residents in live telephone interviews and carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Twenty percent of all respondents were cell phone users, and 10 of the interviews were conducted in Spanish, UA said.

Data from current and past polls are available at


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MXX says... October 24, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.

Romney is a mistake. Arkansas is not very intelligent to vote for such a man. But it is typical of Arkansas.

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HawgFan says... October 24, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.

MXX... You're the one that is not very intelligent, judging the intelligence of an entire state based on some poll numbers. Not smart.

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Jfish says... October 24, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.

Hawgfan is right on, the Beebe numbers just prove that Arkansas is still a conservative state, regardless of the party affiliation. If the Democrats were smart, they would follow Beebe's lead, but that is a big if.

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FreeSpiritMan says... October 24, 2012 at 11:21 a.m.

This is the proof that Arkansas need more education.

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NoUserName says... October 24, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.

Both candidates are a mistake. The decision is choosing which will be less of a mistake. Sometimes that isn't always clear.

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LevitiCuss says... October 24, 2012 at 12:02 p.m.

RMoney: I agree with everything Obama says...but I'm white.

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SRBROTHERINLAW says... October 24, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.

I pretty much disagree with anything that comes out of O-bummers mouth. He has no background what so ever to lead this once great nation. He and his wife use the U.S. to support their vacation plans and golf trips.

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mcgeenatesbcglobalnet says... October 24, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.

John, my comment has nothing to do with the intelligence level of the people of this great State however, I do wonder about the four major television networks, our only State newspaper and some pretty good news magazine as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.... (Medicare and Medicaid recipients) and the state's overall economy? Do they feel they have provided adequate information to the people for them to actually make informed choices or simply just choices? I'm pretty comfortable about what I know about the Obama administration but with Romney's forever changing positions, secret budget cuts, Ryan's budget proposal that would take too long to explain, both of their seemingly inexperience and knowledge concerning foreign policy and both of their almost neanderthal views concerning women health care issues, teachers, police officers and firemen, I"m worried about my kids future and most especially my daughter's. How well have we actually been served by our media and Romney's vision for the future and how will the policies be shaped to accomplish that vision?

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Packman says... October 24, 2012 at 3:40 p.m.

Hey BillSmith - Speaking of needing more education, I believe it should be "needs" more education.......

Hey MXX - Why are Arkansans who vote for Mitt unintelligent but those who vote for BH intelligent? Just curious as to the basis for your statement.

Hey inquire - Do yourself a favor and check out the veracity and character of poor Ms. Stemberg. She isn't a very nice person. And, either show where Mitt or Mr. Stemberg were found guilty of a crime regarding the divorce proceedings or apologize. Your reckless accusations typify the liberal mindset.

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ladyLiberty says... October 24, 2012 at 4:20 p.m.

Nate is right!
our news source seems biased, and all the t.v channels are tuned into FAUX news!
what do you expect ? a brainwashing of the arkansas mind if they read or watch news in arkansas! for a better non biased news source try PBS or reuters. and skip any opinions of the editors at the arkansas democrat gazette!
MXX is also right on...
as if you vote for someone who is planning to slit your throat, you are either suicidal or stupid!
if you think the election is about Abortion, you are misled, as that is something between you and your God. Hitler promised catholics to protect their rights to worship if they voted for his party. then later took that back.
Leviticus is absolutely right on! i do believe the problem in arkansas is that some
are voting just becuse under their skin they are racial and think a black man is
not good enought to be president! the democratic party is not for any racial
group. 98% of us should vote democratic this election if you don't want the Koch brothers buying your soul.

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