Poll Shows Arkansans More Pessimistic About Future

Poll Shows Arkansans More Pessimistic About Future

A new poll conducted by the University of Arkansas shows 63 percent of Arkansans think the state is headed in the right direction.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - A new poll conducted by the University of Arkansas shows 63 percent of Arkansans think the state is headed in the right direction.   The findings are 10 points lower than last year.   According to poll organizers, the only time confidence levels have polled this low was in 2003 when the rate was also 63 percent.

The numbers were revealed as part of the 15th annual Arkansas Poll. The poll was conducted from Oct. 10-17.

The poll also found Democrat Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over an unnamed Republican in the 2016 presidential election.

Clinton received 44 percent of likely voters while the Republican candidate took 42 percent. 14 percent of voters remained undecided.

Other key findings from the poll:

  • A historic record low of 14 percent of people reported being better off financially as compared to a year ago, down from 23 percent last year. Only 18 percent of respondents expected their financial situation to be better next year, the lowest level of confidence since this question was first asked in 1999.
  • When it came to the federal shutdown, which began October 1 and ended Oct. 17, Arkansans blamed the president and his party. A full 37 percent of respondents and 39 percent of likely voters blamed President Obama and the Democrats for the shutdown. Only 26 percent of respondents and 27 percent of likely voters blamed the Republicans in Congress.
  • When respondents considered the performance of their elected officials in Washington, D.C., all lawmakers saw drops in approval ratings. John Boozman received his lowest approval ratings yet, 34 percent of likely voters, down from 45 percent last year. Moreover, his disapproval rating jumped to 29 percent of likely voters from 18 percent last year.
  • Only 34 percent of likely voters approved of Mark Pryor’s performance, down from 53 percent last year. His disapproval ratings were also dramatically higher, with 44 percent of likely voters disapproving of his performance, up from 21 percent last year. Once again, Arkansans gave low ratings to President Barack Obama, with 29 percent of likely voters approving and 66 percent disapproving of his performance. While Gov. Mike Beebe’s approval rating declined from 72 percent to 68 percent of likely voters, an increase in his disapproval rating was not statistically significant.
  • Once again, the poll surveyed Arkansans about attitudes toward gay couples. By and large results were similar to previous years with less than a quarter of Arkansans supporting marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. When it comes to the statement “There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship,” only 46 percent of Arkansans agreed, the first time the response has dipped below 50 percent.
  • This year the poll asked whether gays and lesbians should have equal rights in job opportunities, and 81 percent of likely voters agreed that they should. For the first time, the poll asked Arkansans about their support for granting in-state tuition to graduates of Arkansas high schools who are in the country illegally. Just 36 percent of likely voters approved of that option, and 54 percent disapproved. While 59 percent of Arkansans support allowing undocumented immigrants to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain criteria, that level of support is not a statistically significant change from the 56 percent of last year.

The 2013 Arkansas Poll was conducted by Issues & Answers Network. Between Oct. 10 and 17, interviewers completed 800 live telephone interviews among a random sample of adult Arkansans. Twenty percent of all respondents were cell phone users. The survey’s margin of error statewide is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, meaning that researchers are 95 percent confident that the actual result lies within 3.5 percentage points in either direction of the result the poll’s sample produced.

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