LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – New polling by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College shows that Arkansans are split on the issues of abortion and recreational marijuana use.
As part of a larger poll gauging voter opinions on topics ahead of the November 2022 general election, the poll asked Arkansas residents if they supported current state law, which prohibits abortion except in cases to save the life of the mother, or if the law should be changed.
The data shows 50.5% of respondents answered that Arkansas law should be changed. Another 43% of respondents supported the current law, while 6.5% of those polled answered they didn’t know.
Following up on that question, the poll next asked that if the abortion laws in Arkansas were to change, should it be easier or harder for women to undergo the procedure.
An overwhelming majority of the responses, 92%, said it should be easier to get an abortion in Arkansas. Only 3% said access to the procedure should be harder to gain, and 5% said they did not know how to respond.
Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics editor-in-chief and host of Capitol View on KARK 4 News, noted that the divisive issue is spurring voters to the polls around the country.
“Abortion is an issue that is driving a lot of voter participation in other states. Though Arkansas has a very traditional conservatism towards abortion, our polling observes there is a mood to change current law from its strict one exception to accommodate other exceptions,” Brock said.
The poll also tried to get an idea of public sentiment on the legalization of recreational marijuana use, even as the debate continues in the Arkansas Supreme Court and in the state capitol as to if the decision will even be on the November ballot.
The ballot measure, currently listed as Issue 4, would allow people 21 and older to possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana, direct the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to create rules for businesses involved and impose a 10% tax on sales.
The poll found a slight majority of those polled support to move to legalized marijuana use, with 58.5% saying they would vote for the measure if it ends up on the ballot. The data showed 29% would vote against the bill and 12.5% are still undecided.
According to Brock, the poll data indicates that if voters get to decide on the recreational marijuana question, they will likely approve it.
“This issue is in the hands of the Arkansas Supreme Court to determine if it will appear on the ballot this year. If it does, voters are poised to support it overwhelmingly,” he said. “We see support for the measure across a variety of demographics suggesting that opponents will have a tough time peeling off votes to defeat the proposal. Should it be kicked off the ballot this cycle, our polling suggests it may just be a matter of when, not if, that it becomes legal in Arkansas.”
The larger poll also asked Arkansans to share their thoughts on a number of races coming up in the November election. For those results, tune in to Talk Business & Politics Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on FOX 16 and Capitol View Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on KARK 4.