Kamala Harris unlikely to boost Biden’s favorability in Arkansas, political scientist says


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced last week that Kamala Harris will be his running mate. A political scientist said her national favorability numbers are high, but that’s unlikely to translate to support in Arkansas or help her running mate’s campaign.

Arkansas is a Republican stronghold in the South, particularly in national elections, said Dr. Andrew Dowdle, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas. That means Harris faces an uphill battle to win over the hearts of Arkansans. National polling indicates people favor her more than Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, and even Vice President Mike Pence.

Dowdle attributed this to Biden’s success in the polls and Harris’ name recognition. In reality, he said vice presidential nominees don’t have a big effect on boosting campaigns.

“When you have exit polls, they’re almost never mentioned as the reason why somebody voted for or against the nominee,” Dowdle said.

There aren’t any Arkansas-specific polls to gauge Harris’ favorability scientifically, Dowdle said, but it’s likely her numbers would be lower than what’s being reflected in national polling.

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