Arkansas Poll Shows Mixed Views On Gay Rights, Economic Health Still Top Issue

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — The latest Arkansas Poll unveiled Tuesday (Nov. 7) shows that Arkansans have mixed views on rights for the gay and lesbian community, overwhelmingly support the death penalty, and still see economic health as the top issue.

The 19th annual Arkansas Poll, conducted by the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas, showed that 64% of Arkansans believe the state economy is headed in the right direction, up from 57% in 2016, but just under the 65% in 2015. 2011 marked the highest level of confidence in this category, with 74% saying the state economy was doing well.

Results also showed that 28% of Arkansans say they are better off financially than a year ago, with 16% saying worse off. In 2016 it was a 21%, 22% response, respectively. And 32% of Arkansans say they expect to be in a better financial position a year from now, with only 11% saying worse off. The 2016 response was 27% and 13%, respectively.

The poll also found that 84% of Arkansans believe gay and lesbian individuals should have equal rights to employment, and 78% say they should have equal housing rights. However, only 43% favor equal rights in adoption children and only 35% favor equal marriage rights.

Briana Kordsmeier, a UA public policy graduate student, said the state poll results differ from national polling.

“Support for housing and employment rights has been overwhelming nationally — at least 85 percent — for at least 10 years,” she said. “Marriage and adoption rights also now have the support of a strong majority of Americans. The average Arkansan is far more reluctant than the average American to support equal treatment for gays and lesbians in family arrangements in particular.”

To see more data from the poll and view its methodology, visit Arkansas Talk Business & Politics.

Past poll results can be found here.

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