FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In the 21st annual Arkansas Poll, residents said they’re mostly concerned with gun licensing, background checks for gun purchases, hiring more border agents and construction of a border wall.
The poll is designed and analyzed by Janine Parry, a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas.
It is one of the longest-running public state polls in the country. It has tracked public opinion on current issues, politicians, the economy and life in Arkansas through thousands of phone calls, a news release states.
Questions about policies related to gun and immigration laws reveal that — generally speaking — Arkansans have similar views to those found in national polls.
Parry said, “Outsiders, but just as frequently those who live here, often presume the average Arkansan holds views markedly different from the average American. On most issues, most of the time, we actually track pretty closely with national patterns.”
This year’s policy questions focused on guns and immigration, and showed that, with a few notable exceptions, Arkansans have similar views to the nation.
Eighty-five percent of Arkansans said background checks should be required, while 13 percent said they should not. Nationally, those numbers are 83 and 14 percents, according to a September poll by Pew Research.
Other gun-related findings:
The news release states 90 percent of respondents said yes and 7 percent said no when asked if Congress should increase funding for mental health screenings, according to the news release. It also states most people think a license needs to be provided when purchasing a gun. Fifty-six percent of Arkansans said they think Congress should ban semi-automatic assault-style rifles.
Nearly 80 percent of Arkansans agreed when asked whether immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be given a chance to become citizens if they meet certain requirements. However, 19 percent said no, which is within two percentage points of respondents nationally, according to the news release.
Other immigration-issue findings:
• Arkansans strongly favor hiring more border patrol agents, 73-20 percent.
• They favor increased construction of walls on the U.S.-Mexico border, 55-42 percent.
• They also favor deporting all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, 48-44 percent.
POLITICS, CURRENT ISSUES, QUALITY OF LIFE
The poll also included a variety of questions about what Arkansans think regarding their elected representatives, their political affiliations and life in the state. According to the release, highlights include:
• A three-point increase in the percentage of people who identify as Republicans (35%) over last year, with a corresponding decrease in those who identify as Democrats (23%) and independents (31%).
• “The economy” ranked as the most important concern facing Arkansas today (29%), followed by healthcare (9%) and education (8%).
• An increase in the percentage of Arkansans who say the state is headed in the right direction (71%) and a corresponding decrease who say it is headed in the wrong direction (20%).
ABOUT THE POLL
The Arkansas Poll was conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 24. The polling firm Issues & Answers Network Inc. completed 811 telephone interviews among a random sample of adult Arkansans, the release states. The margin of error statewide is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
To see all results, go to the 2019 Arkansas Poll Summary Report page.