Poll: Number 1 Sees Support; The numbers 2 and 3 a mixed bag

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Three legislative amendment proposals could all be passed in November, although one measure has more support than the other two.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll of 835 likely Arkansas voters found a plurality of support for No. 1, which would allow the Arkansas legislature to reconvene in special session. Under the current state constitution, only the governor can call a special session of the Arkansas General Assembly.

Q: Question 1 would give the legislature the power to call a special session (special session) by joint proclamation of the leaders of the House and Senate or by written proclamation containing the signatures of at least two-thirds of the members of the House and the Senate. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against issue 1?

41% for
24% Against
35% Undecided

Q. Number 2, “The Constitutional Amendment and the 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 returned by the legislature) to at least 60% of the votes cast. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against issue 2?

32% for
32% Against
36% Undecided

Q. Number 3, known as the “Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment”, states that the state government can never interfere with a person’s freedom of religion, except in rare circumstances where the government demonstrates that the application of the charge to the person is in the pursuit of a compelling obligation the interest of the government and constitutes the least restrictive means of promoting this compelling interest of the government. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against question 3?

32.5% for
34.5% Against
33% Undecided

“The number of undecided voters on these three legislative initiatives suggests that these races could be very close on election night. Supporters and opponents of all three will need to launch a persuasive education campaign to bring voters to their side in the weeks to come,” said Roby Brock, editor of Talk Business & Politics. “I would also suggest that constituencies supporting or opposing these measures could also help strategically boost the participation of certain demographic groups during this election cycle. These might turn out to be the most interesting results to watch on November 8th.

ANALYSIS
Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.

Dr. Jay Barth, professor emeritus 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 survey results:

“Of the three ballot measures that are on the November ballot by General Assembly actions, ‘undecided’ rules the day. The measure that comes closest to a majority position is Question 1, which would allow the legislature to call itself into session through a series of steps; at present, only the Governor can call the General Assembly into session. Yet even Question 1 falls well short of the majority needed to add it to the Constitution. The number 1 expresses the plurality of leads across all demographic groups and across all geographies of the state. The only group with plurality concerns on the issue are Democrats who are expressing concern about giving additional power to a Republican-controlled body that has proven more conservative than the GOP governor in recent years.

“The other two issues seem to be even weaker with a lot of confusion over the issues among Arkansas voters. With both Number 2 (which would require a vote of 60% of voters to ratify a constitutional amendment or state initiative) and Number 3 (which would add protections to Arkansans’ religious freedom from regulations impinging on them) about one-third favor the amendments, about one-third oppose, and about one-third are undecided.

“On number 2, the groups most skeptical about raising the threshold for adding amendments and acts initiated by the current simple majority are the younger groups of voters (50% against), the voters with degrees (40% against) and Democrats (46% against).With a grassroots campaign beginning against the measure, much like it happened two years ago with another amendment sent by the legislature that would have limited direct democracy in the natural state, the odds seem somewhat long on question 2.

“Finally, the freshness towards number 3 is somewhat surprising given the religiosity of the Arkansans. On this question, the only significant variations between subgroups among supporters or opponents are that African Americans (46 percent in favor) are particularly supportive, as are Republicans (43 percent). Meanwhile, college-educated voters (41%), men (44%) and Democrats (42%) are significantly adamant in their opposition levels. It’s clear that the patterns of support and opposition on number 3 are creating, at least so far, some strange comrades.

Robert Coon, managing partner of Impact Management Group, which works with Republican political candidates, also helped develop and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the survey results:

“As things stand today, 41% of likely voters in Arkansas would vote for No. 1, a margin of 17 percentage points over those who would vote against. A large percentage of voters, more by a third, are undecided on the measure. Along party lines, the most support comes from Republicans (the ruling party), 53% of whom would vote for the proposal. Independents align more closely with Republicans on this issue, with 41% in favor of the proposal.35% of Democrats oppose question 1 and 24% support it.Yet 41% of Democrats today are undecided.Men and women are both significantly in favor of the proposal, with a higher percentage of women currently undecided (44%) Barring a well-funded opposition campaign, number 1 is expected to pass in November.

“Voters are evenly split on Question 2, with the largest share currently undecided (36%). Opinions on this proposal do not vary much by age group, with the exception of voters under 30, 50% of whom are against it. Republicans support Question 2 by a 2-to-1 margin (42% to 22%), while Democrats oppose it by a slightly wider margin (46%-18%) and independent voters are evenly split. Among college graduates, 40% oppose question 2 compared to 27% who support it. For those without a university degree, 35% support it while 27% oppose it. Question 2 will likely be the most contested referred amendment on the ballot this cycle with groups forming both for and against in recent weeks. As this is currently a draw, voters are likely to hear a lot about number 2 over the next few weeks.

“As with number 2, voters are split on number 3 on similar levels. Racially, support is higher among black voters (46 percent for) than among white voters (31 percent for). As for the party, however, the Republicans are the only group that supports the proposal (43% for). Democrats and independents are closely aligned on Question 3, with 42% of Democrats opposing it and 41% of independents. Overall, women support the issue by 3 to 5 percentage points, while men oppose it by 9 percentage points. Moreover, only 20% of men are undecided on the measure, while this figure jumps to 45% among women, which means that persuasion among women will be a critical area for both parties. Like number 2, this proposal is a draw before election day.

METHODOLOGY
The survey of 835 likely Arkansas voters was conducted on September 12, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8%.

Responses were collected by SMS over the phone. The poll is lightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education and gender. Additional methodology is available upon request.

All media are welcome to reprint, reproduce or repost information from this survey with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. A link to this specific story is also required for any digital or online uses by other media.

For interviews or inquiries, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock via email at [email protected]kbusiness.net.

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