Poll: Griffin leads in Arkansas primary; majority undecided in state treasurer race
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin has a commanding lead over his challenger Leon Jones, Jr. in their quest for the Republican nomination for Arkansas Attorney General. Rep. Mark Lowery leads State Sen. Mat Pitsch in the State Treasurer’s primary race, although a large block of GOP voters remain undecided.
The latest statewide Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of 802 GOP primary voters was conducted on Monday, May 2, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/-4.3%. Respondents were asked for whom they planned to vote in the Attorney General’s and Treasurer’s races.
57% – Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin
10% – Leon Jones, Jr.
33% – Undecided
Treasurer of State
12% – State Senator Mathew W. Pitsch
30% – State Representative Mark Lowery
58% – Undecided
“While Lt. Gov. Griffin looks poised to win his party’s nomination over Mr. Jones handily, there is less certainty in the Treasurer’s race. Rep. Lowery has a more enviable position than Sen. Pitsch, but there is a large undecided block of voters who have yet to make up their minds,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief.
Yesterday, Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College released results in the two U.S. Senate primaries. Incumbent GOP Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., has a lead over his primary rivals, but is still short of a majority of votes to avoid a runoff. Roughly 63% of Democratic Party primary voters are undecided in that Senate primary.
More polling results will be released on Saturday in the two parties’ Secretary of State races. On Sunday, results in the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s races will be revealed. A survey of Supreme Court candidate preferences will be released on Monday morning.
Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.
Dr. Jay Barth, emeritus professor of politics at Hendrix College, is active in Democratic Party politics and helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
“Two other statewide races on the May 24th ballot are taking place only on the GOP side — contests for Attorney General and Treasurer. In both races, our polling suggests a clear favorite going into the primary election.
“One of the advantaged candidates is not surprising. Veteran politician Tim Griffin, the term-limited Lt. Governor, is running strongly over political neophyte Leon Jones, Jr. in the race for Attorney General. Griffin, who left the Governor’s race following the entrance of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, shows majority support in the race against the brother of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones. Griffin shows particularly strong support among the youngest GOP voters, among male voters, and among voters with college degrees.
“While Griffin’s lead is expected, the gap in the race for State Treasurer is more surprising. There, State Representative Mark Lowery of Maumelle leads State Senator Mat Pitsch by a margin of 30% to 12%. Lowery’s visibility across recent legislative sessions, particularly in the state’s largest media market, seems to have paid off in name recognition among the state’s Republican voters. With a majority of GOP voters unclear on their vote, the key question is whether Pitsch can close the gap in the closing weeks of the race through his communication with targeted voters. In contrast to Griffin, Lowery runs particularly strongly among female GOP voters along with those without a college degree.
“For the winners of the Attorney General and Treasurer primaries, their campaigns will not end on May 24th. Each will face Democrats in the fall election — Jesse Gibson for Attorney General and Pam Whitaker for Treasurer — although Republicans will be strongly favored in each race.”
Robert Coon, managing partner with Impact Management Group, which works with Republican political candidates, also helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
“Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is solidly in the driver’s seat, and should win the Republican nomination for Attorney General comfortably. With his opponent, Leon Jones, Jr., currently polling at 10% and the remaining 33% of the electorate undecided, there is no reasonable path for this race to go a different direction. Griffin leads consistently across all demographic groups with no apparent weaknesses in his numbers.
“The race for State Treasurer on the Republican side is wide open. With more than half of the electorate currently undecided (58%), both candidates have an opportunity to prevail on Election Day. State Rep. Mark Lowery currently has the advantage with 30% of the vote, and leads State Sen. Mathew Pitsch across all age groups. Lowery’s support is marginally higher among self-identified Republicans (33%) compared to Pitsch (11%), while his margin among independents is narrower (7 percentage points). Lowery leads Pitsch among voters both with and without a college degree, performing better with non-college educated group. With such a large number of voters still undecided, this race will be determined in the final few weeks based on how the candidates spend their remaining campaign funds. Any large infusion of resources for either candidate to raise their name identification among Republican voters could be the difference.”
The survey of 802 likely GOP primary election voters was conducted May 2, 2022, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.
Responses were collected via SMS to an online survey and by phone. The poll is slightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education, and gender.