The picture of a typical Arkansan that emerges from the University of Arkansas's 14th annual Arkansas Poll of 800 randomly selected adult residents could be called Mr. (or Ms.) No. That is, no to Obama, no to gay marriage, no to in-state tuition for undocumented teen-agers, no to new federal dollars to expand Medicaid and no to legalizing medical marijuana. The most resounding no (60 percent): in-state tuition for high school graduates brought by their undocumented parents to Arkansas as children. Our typical Arkansan is more conservative than he was in 2011. Still, Mr. or Ms. No is likely to approve of Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, by a wide margin, and feels he's in the same or even better position financially this year than he was last year.
Here's a look at some of the results the poll found:
Health care is more important to Arkansans than it was last year.
The most important issue facing Arkansas today in 2012 is, like 2011, the economy, but while 70 percent put the economy at the top last year, only 48 percent did this year.
The 2nd most important issue in 2012: Health care, at 15 percent of the votes. That's considerably higher than 2011, when it was 3 percent and third place to education's second place.
The 3rd, 4th and 5th most important issues in 2012: Education (12 percent in 2012, 4 percent in 2011); drugs (11 percent in 2012, 3 percent in 2011); immigration (6 percent in 2012, 2 percent in 2011) and taxes (5 percent in 2012, 3 percent in 2011).
Approval of public figures
Democrats hold their own.
Gov. Mike Beebe lost a percentage point from 2011 to stand at 72 percent approval in 2012. Sen. John Boozman gained 2 percentage points from 2011 to stand at 42 percent approval. Sen. Mark Pryor gained 5 percentage points from 2011 to stand at 53 percent approval.
58 percent surveyed like Republican Mitt Romney, 31 percent like Barack Obama and 11 percent either don't know or like another candidate.
Half-cent tax for roads, yes: 53 percent say yes, 42 percent no, 5 percent say don't know or decline to answer.
Medical marijuana, no: 53 percent say no, 43 percent say yes, 5 percent say don't know or decline to answer.
Keep it the same, turn down federal funds to expand: 47 percent.
Expand Medicaid: 41 percent.
Declined to answer or didn't know: 12 percent.
Arkansas is not trending with the rest of the country, which according to most polls show 51 percent to 54 percent approval. In Arkansas, proponents have lost ground since last year.
Gay marriage should be allowed: 15 percent in 2005, 22 percent in 2011, 16 percent in 2012.
Gay civil unions should be allowed: 22 percent in 2005, 22 percent in 2011, 20 percent in 2012.
No legal recognition for same-sex couples: 54 percent in 2005, 51 percent in 2011, 57 percent in 2012.
Party ideology, change over a decade
Fewer moderates, liberals and Democrats, more Republicans and conservatives.
Republican: 30 percent in 2002, 32 percent in 2012.
Democrat: 35 percent in 2002, 30 percent in 2012.
Liberal: 15 percent in 2002, 12 percent in 2012.
Moderate: 39 percent in 2002, 32 percent in 2012.
Conservative: 41 percent in 2002, 51 percent in 2012.
Wonderful alternate learning opportunity for our youth who are facing touch circumstances.