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Talk Business/Hendrix Poll Suggests Bloomberg Surge, No Clear Democratic Presidential Favorite in Arkansas

February 19th, 2020 by

F410FE54-945C-4181-86FB-387ABB6D922AThe Arkansas Preferential Primary Election and Nonpartisan General Election will be held on March 3rdAccording to the most recently released Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College Poll, Democrats in the state are virtually split between former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (19.6%), former Vice President Joe Biden (18.5%), U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders (16.4%), and former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (15.5%). The poll asked 496 likely Democratic primary voters who they preferred in the upcoming primary election. 

The results are not so much telling us who is most favored, but how tight the field of candidates is (the margin for error in the poll is +/- 4.3%) and how fluid preferences are with 11% of respondents stating that they are undecided. Furthermore, 2% of those polled indicated a preference for Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has since dropped out of the race. 

Yang’s departure from the field is a reminder to political observers that the field of candidates continues to winnow and may become smaller still, prior to March 3rd

Given the timing of the poll (conducted on February 6-7), I expect to see considerable movement in Arkansans Democrats’ preferences between now and March 3rd as observers continue to consume media coverage and analysis of the New Hampshire Primary results and will soon watch returns from the Nevada Caucusesand the South Carolina Primary

Each candidate is seeking to claim what George H.W. Bush once called “the big MO” whereby a candidate capitalizes on favorable caucus and/or primary results, creating a media narrative that he or she has become the frontrunner. To date, one week after the New Hampshire Primary, we have not yet seen momentum clearly advantage anyone in the field of candidates. However, it is becoming clearer that Biden and Warren—once considered favorites for the nomination—are failing to meet expectations at the polls. 

On March 3rd, Arkansas will be one of several states who have opted to hold their primary on “Super Tuesday.” Following this multi-state coordinated primary date, we can expect significant winnowing of the field of candidates. Who will remain in the race after March 3rd, as witnessed by fractured results in Iowa and New Hampshire—coupled with the results of the Talk Business/Hendrix Poll—is anyone’s guess.

John C. Davis is an assistant professor of political science. He earned his B.A. and M.A. in political from the University of Arkansas and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. 

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