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Economy, healthcare key issues for Arkansas voters, poll notes

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Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 8:54 PM CDT
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - The number of Arkansans who believe the state is headed in the right direction has fallen 16 points in the past year, while over two-thirds of voters believe their financial situation is better or the same as a year ago, according to a new poll from the University of Arkansas.

The Arkansas Poll, which is done by the Fulbright College, was released Thursday and looked at several issues including the economy, healthcare, COVID and women in politics.

Overall, the poll showed 22% of voters believe the economy is the most important issue in the state, followed by healthcare at 12% and politicians/politics at 10%.

As for COVID, 69% of Arkansans in the poll said they either knew someone who was hospitalized or died, while 30% said they did not know anyone.

People were also asked their opinion on either requirements to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination on the COVID-19 issue.

Here’s a breakdown:

Requiring People to Wear a Mask

  • Travel by airplane: 61% favor, 34% oppose, 6% don’t know.
  • Go to sporting event or concert: 51% favor, 43% oppose, 6% don’t know.
  • Attend K-12 public school: 50% favor, 43% oppose, 7% don’t know.
  • Shop inside stores and businesses: 50% favor, 44% oppose, 6% don’t know.
  • Eat inside a restaurant: 42% favor, 50% oppose, 6% don’t know.

Proof of Vaccination

  • Travel by airplane: 48% favor, 47% oppose, 5% don’t know.
  • Go to sporting event or concert: 39% favor, 55% oppose, 6% don’t know.
  • Attend K-12 public school: 39% favor, 53% oppose, 8% don’t know.
  • Shop inside stores and businesses: 33% favor, 61% oppose, 6% don’t know.
  • Eat inside a restaurant: 35% favor, 60% oppose, 6% don’t know.

The poll also looked at public opinion on several federal and state officeholders.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) had a 57% approval rating in the poll, down 12 points from 2020′s poll; while Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who is up for re-election in 2022, had a 37% approval rating, down 13 points from last year.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had a 49% approval rating in the poll, down nine points from last year.

However, Democrats did not fare as well in the poll, either.

President Joe Biden had a 30% approval rating in the poll as well as a 63% disapproval rating. Also, the poll asked a generic question as to who they would support for Governor in 2022 - a Republican or a Democrat.

Republicans led the generic poll 46-21%, with 34% saying they did not know.

The poll also asked people their opinions about women in politics - with female candidates on both sides of the aisle already announcing for state and federal offices next year.

In the poll, 72% disagreed with the statement that male politicians are typically better at handling most political issues, with 21% agreeing; while 70% disagreed with the statement that male politicians are generally better communicators while 22% agree.

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