Democrat Incumbent in Arkansas faces 19 point poll deficit: Lincoln trails Republican challenger John Boozman

Incumbent Governor Mike Beebe (D), who retains very high approval ratings, leads over opponent Jim Keet (R) by 22 points

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Washington, DC – Ipsos’ recent poll of 600 registered voters in Arkansas shows that Democrat Blanche Lincoln, who currently holds the seat, is polling far behind her Republican opponent. More than half of registered voters in Arkansas (54%) say they will vote for Republican John Boozman, and just over a third (35%) for Lincoln.

Lincoln may be suffering from the incumbency backlash found in other races around the country. The poll included a short battery of statements, and voters were asked which candidate they associated each quality with more:

  • A strong leader for Arkansas: Boozman 51% vs. Lincoln 34%
  • Understands the problems of someone like me: Boozman 44% vs. Lincoln 33%
  • Will say anything to win votes: Boozman 18% vs. Lincoln 48%
  • Fights for Main Street over Wall Street: Boozman 42% vs. Lincoln 29%
  • Tough on banks: Boozman 32% vs. Lincoln 29%

The last two points will be particular blows to Lincoln, who was behind a recent proposed regulatory amendment on curbing banks’ derivatives trading. Her position on banking might have had a positive impact (in that she trails Boozman by comparatively less on this measure), but this has not been enough to offset the general disadvantage in which she finds herself. When asked about the issue of financial regulation more broadly, more voters in Arkansas favor regulation (55%) than oppose it (40%).

Conversely, the Arkansas Gubernatorial shows Democrat incumbent Mike Beebe (57%) with a comfortable lead over his Republican opponent Jim Keet (35%), with 9% refusing to answer or saying they’re not sure how they will vote . Beebe’s ratings as Governor are very strong (67% approval) and also cut across party lines, with 56% of Republicans, 73% of Independents and 80% of Democrats in approval of the way he is doing his job as Governor.

As is the case with many national polls, in Arkansas Republicans are more likely to vote than are Democrats: 74% of Republicans say they are ‘completely certain’ they will vote this November, compared to 56% of Democrats, and 47% of Independents.

Interest in the campaign and campaign coverage is fairly high, with 60% saying they have a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a bit’ of interest in following news about the midterm campaigns.

Registered voters in Arkansas are fairly evenly divided on the issue of the direction in which their State is heading: 44% feel things in Arkansas are off on the ‘wrong track’, and 47% think they’re heading in the right direction.

The survey contained a question asking about the biggest problems currently facing Arkansas:

  • Well over half (57%) feel that the economy and jobs is among Arkansas’ biggest problems
  • About one in seven (14%) list issues around the Government, politics and politicians generally – which includes both state and national level concerns
  • Education and healthcare generally (both 8%) are also listed as key concerns
  • Immigration (6%), the budget/deficit (4%) and taxes (3%) follow as important problems

For more information on this press release, please contact:
Clifford Young
Managing Director, Public Sector Practice
Ipsos Public Affairs

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Democrat Incumbent in Arkansas faces 19 point poll deficit: Lincoln trails Republican challenger John Boozman


Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs