CONTACTS: Janine Parry, Poll Director, 479-575-6439 or 479-571-2973, parry@uark.edu

Pearl Ford, collaborating researcher on race and politics questions, 479-575-6434, pkford@uark.edu

Barbara Jaquish, Science and Research Communication Officer, 479-575-2683, jaquish@uark.edu

 

The Arkansas Poll, 2008

Summary Report

 

 

10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

 

Dr. Janine A. Parry

Poll Director, Associate Professor of Political Science

 

Dr. Bill Schreckhise

Associate Professor of Political Science

 

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

 

Interviews conducted by: The Survey Research Center,

Dr. Molly Longstreth, Director

Project sponsored by: The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society,

Dr. Todd Shields, Director

 

 


Arkansas Poll Website: http://www3.uark.edu/arkpoll/

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Most Important Problem/Public Figure Approval....................................................... p. 2

2008 Election………….…………………………………………………………………… p. 3

Current Issues............................................................................................................ p. 4-5

Political Interest and Knowledge................................................................................ p. 6

Congressional District Breakdowns – Key Questions...…………………………………. p. 7

Political Party and Ideology/Life in Arkansas…………………………………………….p. 8

Methodology and Sample Information........................................................................ p. 9

 

*Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Text Box:


Most Important Problem

What is the most important problem or issue facing people in Arkansas today?[1]

Percent

·         the economy/jobs/wages

56

·         healthcare (including insurance)

15

·         education

10

·         crime (including drugs and violence)

4

·         government/taxes/politics

5

·         immigration

7

·         don’t know/refused

3

 

Public Figure Approval Ratings

Do you approve or disapprove of the way ______________ is handling his job as governor?

Approve

Disapprove

DK/Ref

 Mike Huckabee  1999

66%

13%

21%

2001

70%

17%

13%

2003

47%

38%

16%

2005

58%

27%

15%

  Mike Beebe  2007

70%

9%

21%

2008

74%

9%

18%

Do you … Blanche Lincoln … as a U.S. Senator?

 

 

 

1999

46%

17%

37%

2001

51%

13%

36%

2003

55%

10%

35%

2005

55%

17%

28%

2007

50%

24%

26%

2008

54%

20%

27%

Do you … Mark Pryor … as a U.S. Senator?

 

 

 

2003

52%

11%

37%

2005

56%

12%

32%

2007

53%

18%

29%

2008

56%

16%

28%

Do you approve or disapprove of the way ____________ is handling his job as U.S. Representative?[2]

 

 

 

 (first congressional district) Marion Berry 2008

50%

19%

31%

 (second congressional district) Vic Snyder 2008

57%

19%

24%

(third congressional district) John Boozman 2008

52%

17%

31%

 (fourth congressional district) Mike Ross 2008

62%

10%

28%

Do you … George Bush … as president?

 

 

 

2001

87%

9%

3%

2002

61%

32%

7%

2003

47%

46%

7%

2004

50%

45%

5%

2005

38%

56%

7%

2006

36%

58%

6%

2007

30%

65%

6%

2008

27%

67%

7%

2008 Election

Suppose the election were held today.  Who would you be more likely to vote for: John McCain, the Republican, or Barack Obama, the Democrat (name/party rotated)?

 

·         John McCain

49%

·         Barack Obama

36%

·         don’t know/refused

15%

Suppose the election were held today.  Who would you be more likely to vote for: John McCain, the Republican, or Barack Obama, the Democrat (name/party rotated)? registered voters only.

 

·         John McCain

51%

·         Barack Obama

36%

·         don’t know/refused

14%

And, would you have voted for Hillary Clinton if she had been a nominee for president?

 

·         yes

54%

·         no

41%

·         don’t know/refused

5%

(From 2007 ArkPoll) If the 2008 election for president were held today, would you vote for the Republican Party’s candidate or the Democratic Party’s candidate?

 

·      Republican Party’s candidate

31%

·      Democratic Party’s candidate

49%

·      other/None (volunteered)

7%

·      don’t know/refused

13%

(From 2007 ArkPoll) If the 2008 presidential election were held today, who would you vote for for president? Just tell me the name.

 

·      Hillary Clinton

35%

·      Rudy Giuliani

8%

·      Mike Huckabee

8%

·      Fred Thompson

5%

·      Barack Obama

5%

·      Other

11%

·      don’t know/refused

28%

And, as far as you know, what is Barack Obama’s religion? Is he a Christian, a Muslim, or something else?

 

·      Christian

44%

·      Muslim

20%

·      Something else

10%

·      don’t know/refused

26%

 

Proposed Amendment 3 permits the Arkansas legislature to establish a lottery to fund scholarships and grants to college students.  Given this description, do you favor or oppose this measure?

 

·         favor

65%

·         oppose

33%

·         don’t know/refused

3%

Proposed Initiated Act 1 would prevent anyone who is cohabitating outside of a valid marriage from adopting or fostering a child.  Given this description, do you favor or oppose this measure?

 

·         favor

38%

·         oppose

55%

·         don’t know/refused

7%

 

Current Issues

First, in general, would you say you favor stricter gun control, less strict gun control, or should no change be made to existing gun control laws?

 
 
Stricter

 

 

Less Strict

 

No Change

 

DK/ Refused

2000

39%

15%

42%

4%

2002

36%

15%

45%

4%

2004

38%

12%

45%

5%

2006

37%

11%

47%

5%

2008

29%

13%

54%

4%

 

Which of the following approaches for providing health care in the United States would you prefer: replacing the current health care system with a new government run health care system, or maintaining the current system based mostly on private health insurance?

 

·      replace

35%

·      maintain

50%

·      don’t know/refused

15%

Do you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for the president of the U.S. to meet with leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the U.S.?

 

·      good idea/support meeting

64%

·      neutral

5%

·      bad idea/do not support meeting

26%

·      don’t know/refused

5%

Would you rather see the next president keep the same number of troops in Iraq that are currently stationed there, or would you rather see the next president remove most US troops in Iraq within a few months of taking office?

 

·      keep the same number

32%

·      remove most

56%

·      don’t know/refused

12%

 

Here’s a series of statements about race relations in the U.S.  For each one, please tell me if you strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, or strongly disagree with each one.

 

 

SA[3]

 

 

A

 

 

N

 

 

D

 

 

SD

 

 

DK/Ref

·         Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors

15%

55%

8%

14%

2%

5%

·         Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve. Do you ….

3%

18%

10%

46%

14%

8%

·         It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites

10%

37%

13%

29%

6%

5%

·         Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.

5%

27%

6%

45%

13%

4%

 

too fast

not fast enough

about right

DK/Ref

·         Finally, some say that black leaders have been trying to push too fast.  Others feel that they haven’t pushed fast enough.  What do you think … too fast, not fast enough, or moving at about the right speed?

 

 

 

 

13%

 

 

 

 

20%

 

 

 

 

49%

 

 

 

 

18%

And which comes closest to your view about what government policy should be regarding undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.  Should the government:[4]

 

·      allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States to work for a limited amount of time?

 

 

2007

9%

2008

10%

·      allow undocumented immigrants to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain criteria like learning English and paying their back-taxes?

 

2007

55%

2008

59%

·      deport all undocumented immigrants?

 

2007

27%

2008

26%

·      allow undocumented immigrants to become permanent residents with no requirements?

 

2007

2%

2008

2%

·      don’t know/refused

 

2007

5%

2008

4%

Do you think global warming is an urgent problem requiring immediate attention or a longer-term problem that requires more study before government action is taken?[5]

 

·      Urgent problem

 

2006

44%

2007

44%

2008

44%

·      Longer-term problem

 

2006

46%

2007

44%

2008

36%

·      Not a problem (only if volunteered)

 

2006

3%

2007

5%

2008

10%

·      Unsure (only if volunteered)

 

2006

3%

2007

4%

2008

7%

·      Don’t Know/Refused

 

2006

4%

2007

3%

2008

3%

 


Political Interest and Knowledge

 

Would you say you follow what’s going on in government and public affairs most of the time, some of the time, only now and then, or never?

 

·         most of the time

58%

·         some of the time

27%

·         only now and then

12%

·         don’t know/refused

2%

Who is the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives?  I have a list of names here, is it (rotate response options): Harry Reid, Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, or Newt Gingrich?

 

·         Harry Reid

3%

·         Condoleezza Rice

7%

·         Nancy Pelosi

64%

·         Newt Gingrich

4%

·         don’t know/refused

22%

And what is the term of office of a U.S. senator?  Is it …?

 

·         two years

17%

·         four years

30%

·         six years

30%

·         eight years

8%

·         don’t know/refused

15%

And who is responsible for nominating judges to federal courts?  Is it…?

 

·         the president

50%

·         congress

9%

·         the supreme court

9%

·         state governors

6%

·         don’t know/refused

26%


Congressional District Breakdowns – Key Questions

Question

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

What is the most important problem or issue facing people in Arkansas today?[6]

 

 

 

 

·         the economy/jobs/wages

54%

57%

56%

57%

·         healthcare (including insurance)

8%

12%

8%

10%

·         education

19%

15%

13%

14%

·         crime (including drugs and violence)

6%

3%

3%

6%

·         government/taxes/politics

5%

5%

5%

5%

·         immigration

6%

6%

13%

5%

·         don’t know/refused

4%

2%

3%

4%

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mike Beebe is … as governor?

 

 

 

 

·         approve

69%

78%

73%

73%

·         disapprove

10%

7%

9%

9%

·         don’t know/refused

21%

15%

18%

18%

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Bush is… as president?

 

 

 

 

·         approve

27%

26%

27%

27%

·         disapprove

67%

66%

66%

68%

·         don’t know/refused

6%

8%

7%

6%

Suppose the election were held today.  Who would you be more likely to vote for: John McCain, the Republican, or Barack Obama, the Democrat (name/party rotated)?

 

 

 

 

·         John McCain

46%

48%

49%

53%

·         Barack Obama

38%

37%

37%

35%

·         don’t know/refused

17%

16%

15%

13%

And, would you have voted for Hillary Clinton if she had been a nominee for president?

 

 

 

 

·         yes

58%

53%

52%

56%

·         no

37%

41%

44%

40%

·         don’t know/refused

6%

6%

4%

4%

Proposed Amendment 3 permits the Arkansas legislature to establish a lottery to fund scholarships and grants to college students.  Given this description, do you favor or oppose this measure?

 

 

 

 

·         favor

64%

65%

67%

65%

·         oppose

35%

32%

30%

35%

·         don’t know/refused

3%

2%

5%

3%

Proposed Initiated Act 1 would prevent anyone who is cohabitating outside of a valid marriage from adopting or fostering a child.  Given this description, do you favor or oppose this measure?

 

 

 

 

·         favor

37%

33%

40%

42%

·         oppose

55%

60%

53%

52%

·         don’t know/refused

8%

8%

7%

7%

Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?

 

 

 

 

·         Republican

20%

23%

30%

21%

·         Democrat

38%

35%

30%

36%

·         independent

34%

33%

32%

32%

·         other

6%

7%

6%

9%

·         don’t know/refused

3%

3%

2%

2%


Political Party and Ideology

Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?

 

 

Republican

 

 

Democrat

 

 

Indep’t

 

 

Other

 

DK/ Refused

2001

27%

33%

32%

5%

3%

2003

24%

38%

31%

4%

3%

2005

23%

36%

33%

4%

4%

2007

24%

39%

30%

3%

2%

2008

24%

35%

33%

7%

2%

Independents only: Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican or Democratic Party?

 

Closer to Republican

 

Closer to Democrat

 

Just Indep’t

 

 

DK/

Refused

2001

29%

36%

31%

 

4%

2003

33%

34%

33%

 

2%

2005

30%

35%

32%

 

4%

2007

34%

37%

29%

 

1%

2008

35%

30%

33%

 

3%

How would you describe your views on most political matters? Generally, do you think of yourself as a liberal, moderate, or conservative?

 

 

Liberal

 

 

Moderate

 

 

 

Conserv’e

 

 

 

DK/

Refused

2001

17%

39%

38%

 

6%

2003

17%

36%

39%

 

7%

2005

13%

40%

39%

 

8%

2007

16%

37%

39%

 

6%

2008

14%

35%

43%

 

8%

 

Life in Arkansas

Overall, do you feel that Arkansas is generally headed in the right direction or the wrong direction?

Right

Wrong

 

DK/ Refused

2001

78%

14%

 

8%

2003

63%

26%

 

11%

2005

73%

18%

 

9%

2007

69%

21%

 

8%

2008

71%

19%

 

10%

Would you say you are better off financially, worse off, or about the same compared to a year ago?

Better

About the Same

Worse

DK/ Refused

2001

41%

39%

19%

1%

2003

27%

45%

28%

1%

2005

28%

49%

22%

1%

2007

30%

48%

20%

1%

2008

20%

38%

41%

1%

And, looking ahead, do you think a year from now, you will be … as now?

Better

About the Same

Worse

DK/

Refused

2001

41%

39%

19%

1%

2003

35%

49%

12%

5%

2005

34%

46%

15%

5%

2007

38%

45%

12%

3%

2008

35%

39%

18%

8%

Text Box: Methodology and Sample Information

Between October 1st and October 21st the Survey Research Center at the University of Arkansas completed 1,628 telephone surveys among a random sample of adult Arkansans; at least 400 interviews were completed in each of the state’s four congressional districts.[7] Eleven percent of all respondents spoke with SRC interviewers via cell phone.

The survey’s margin of error statewide is +/- 2.5 percentage points, meaning that we are 95 percent confident that the actual result lies within 2.5 percentage points (in either direction) of the result our sample produced.  At the congressional district level, the margin of error is 4.9 percentage points.

Employing guidelines established by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the poll’s overall cooperation rate was 43%. This figure reflects completed surveys as a percentage of all eligible individuals contacted.

To assess the representativeness of the sample drawn for the poll, the Arkansas Poll team publishes what most polling organizations do not: a comparison of survey respondents’ key demographic characteristics to those of the state as a whole. This information is reported in the table below.

 

 

2008 Arkansas Poll Sample

State of Arkansas

Average Age Category (for 18+ pop.)

45-54 years of age

35-44 years of age

Average # persons per household

3.0

2.5

Marital Status

62% married

58% married

Gender

41% male

49% male

Educational Attainment

 

 

high school graduates

90.5%

89%

college graduates

34.3%

17%

Median household income

$35,001-$50,000

$32,182

Race/Ethnicity

 

 

White

81.6%

80.0%

Black or African American

9.2%

15.7%

Multi-Ethnic

2.8%

1.3%

Hispanic

2.3%

3.2%[8]

Native American

1.4%

0.7%

Asian

0.2%

0.8%

Something Else, Don’t Know, Refused

2.5%

0.0%

Source: All data from the Arkansas Poll, Current Population Survey, or the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census 2000.

 



[1] In odd-numbered years, the Arkansas Poll records and codes the open-ended answers of respondents.  In even-numbered years, respondents are asked to choose from the six most frequently mentioned issues of the previous year.

[2] Approval ratings for members of the U.S. House of Representatives were collected within their respective congressional districts only; the smaller sample means the margin of error increases to +/- 4.9 percentage points.

[3] SA=strongly agree; A=agree; N=neither; D=disagree; SD=strongly disagree; DK/ref=don’t know/refused

[4] In the interest of time/expense, several questions were asked of only 400 people statewide; the margin of error for these results is +/- 4.9 percentage points.

[5] In the interest of time/expense, several questions were asked of only 400 people statewide; the margin of error for these results is +/- 4.9 percentage points.

[6] In odd-numbered years, the Arkansas Poll records and codes the open-ended answers of respondents.  In even-numbered years, respondents are asked to choose from the six most frequently mentioned issues of the previous year.

[7] Twenty-three, or 1.4%, of the interviews were conducted in Spanish.

[8] Hispanics may be of any race, so these identifiers also are included in applicable race categories.