Poll: Arkansas voters suggest a mixed bag for Issues 1, 2 and 3
A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll shows about one-quarter of voters are still undecided on three amendment proposals to be considered this fall.
In the latest survey of 974 likely Arkansas voters, which was conducted Oct. 17-18, 2022, Issue 1 has an 11-point lead, Issue 2 is a dead-heat, and Issue 3 is slightly opposed by just three points.
Respondents were asked:
Q: Issue 1, would give the legislature the authority to convene in extraordinary session (special session) by joint proclamation of House and Senate leadership or by written proclamation containing the signatures of at least two-thirds of the members of both the House and Senate. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against Issue 1?
Q. Issue 2, the “Constitutional Amendment and Ballot Initiative Reform Amendment”, would change the number of votes required for approval of initiated acts and constitutional amendments (both proposed by the people and referred by the legislature) to at least 60 percent of the votes cast. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against Issue 2?
Q. Issue 3, known as the “Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment”, states that state government may never burden a person’s freedom of religion except in the rare circumstance that the government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against Issue 3?
“Issues 1, 2 and 3 could go in just about any direction with their outcomes, although I’d predict that Issue 1 is the most likely to pass,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief.
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:
“On the three constitutional amendments put forward to voters by the General Assembly, the primary shifts in the electorate since our September survey has been previously undecided voters sorting themselves pretty much in accordance with the overall patterns. However, opposition to Issue 1 which would allow the legislature to call itself into session when supermajorities of the bodies has grown slightly more than has support for the measure. None of the three has yet to achieve majority support although Issue 1 is within striking distance of majority support. The other two measures — while very closely divided in the electorate, but with significant undecideds — appear longer shots at this juncture in the race.
“In terms of the support of subgroups of voters on the three measures, the patterns remain quite similar to those in our September survey. On Issue 1, Democrats remain opposed and college-educated voters have shifted slightly against the measure. On Issue 2 that would raise the percentage of votes needed to pass constitutional amendments and initiated acts to 60% of the electorate, Democrats and college-educated voters remain the most consistently opposed (although there has been some reshuffling of voters by age range with younger voters now more supportive than older voters in contrast to the September survey). Finally, on Issue 3 that would enhance state constitutional protections for religious freedom, Democratic voters and college-educated voters also remain the groups with clear majority opposition.”
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:
“Support for Issue 1 has increased slightly (+3%) since September, while opposition has increased by a greater amount (+10%), narrowing the margin to 10-percentage points in favor. 22% of voters are still undecided on the measure, down from 35%. Issue 1 continues to receive greater support from Republicans (54%) than Democrats (30%) with the biggest shift coming from the latter group. In September, 24% of Democrats supported Issue 1 while 35% opposed it. Today, 30% of Democrats support it, while 48% oppose it. Opposition has grown marginally among Republicans and Independents, contributing to the overall increase in opposition.
“Voters remain roughly evenly split on Issue 2, as they were in September, however the percentage of undecideds has dropped by 13-percentage points. Currently 39% plan to vote in favor of the amendment while 38% plan on voting against it. A majority of Republicans support Issue 2 (53%), and a majority of Democrats oppose it (59%) – up from 46% in September. Independents are roughly split (37%-40%) but leaning against. With 23% undecided on this measure heading into Election Day, Issue 2 is a toss-up with closing messages from both campaigns on the airwaves in the final weeks.
“Issue 3 remains evenly split as it was in September, with an 8-percentage point drop in undecideds. One quarter of likely voters is still undecided as to how they’ll vote on the measure. A majority of Republicans now support Issue 3 (51%), up from 43% previously. A majority of Democrats oppose it (58%), up from 42% in September. Independents opposed Issue 3 by 11-percentage points in September and oppose it by 10-percentage points today. A majority of college educated voters oppose Issue 3 (51%) while a plurality of non-college educated voters support it (40%). The gap between men and women has closed with women net opposing Issue 3 (31%-36%) and men (41%-42%).”
The survey of 974 likely Arkansas voters was conducted Oct. 17-18, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.
Under 30 – 5%
Between 30-44 – 20%
Between 45-64 – 40%
65 and over – 35%
College graduate 36%
Non-college graduate 64%
Responses were collected via SMS by phone. The poll is slightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education, and gender.