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Most Surveyed Support Campaign Finance Change.

Most Arkansans believe that the system of funding political campaigns in the United States should be "completely rebuilt," according to the 19th annual Arkansas Poll, conducted by the University of Arkansas and released Tuesday.

This was the first year the poll included a question about campaign finance, and it found that 55 percent of respondents believe that "the system has so much wrong we need to completely rebuild it." This falls in line with nationwide enthusiasm for a total overhaul, researchers said in a news release.

Nine percent of respondents said "the system works pretty well, only minor changes needed" while 25 percent agreed "there are some good things but fundamental changes are needed."

As in past years, the poll showed that partisanship in Arkansas remained steady, with 29 percent of respondents identifying as Republican, 24 percent as Democrat and 35 percent as independent.

But 26 percent of the respondents who identified themselves as independents said they lean closer to Democrats, up from 18 percent in 2016.

The poll was designed and analyzed by Janine Parry, a UA professor of political science.

"I'm unconvinced either party should get too worked up about this," Parry said in a news release. "But it does mark a reversal from the dramatic move to the right we've seen among Arkansas independents since 2010, a move that has flipped election outcomes upside down. So, it's something to watch as we approach the next big round of state elections in 2018."

The poll, sponsored by the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics & Society at the UA, was conducted statewide Oct. 12-22 and included 801 telephone interviews, 320 of which were with Arkansans using cell phones. The survey's margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The economy remains the biggest issue for Arkansas voters, while concern for health care and other issues, including crime, politics and education, dropped slightly from last year. Respondents raised a new concern this year as well: 8 percent identified drugs as the most important issue facing Arkansans.

The poll also found that 84 percent of Arkansans think homosexuals should have equal rights to employment, and 78 percent think they should have equal rights when it comes to housing. Significantly fewer support equal treatment in adoption (43 percent) and marriage (35 percent). "Support for housing and employment rights has been overwhelming nationally--at least 85 percent--for at least 10 years," Briana Kordsmeier, a public policy graduate student who helped with the poll, said in the news release. "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."
The Arkansas Poll, 2017
Which of the following statements comes closest to your view of the way
political campaigns are funded in the U.S.?

The system works pretty well, only minor changes needed.         9
There are some good things but fundamental changes are needed.  25
The system has so much wrong we need to completely rebuild it.  55
Don't know/refused/other                                        11

Source: University of Arkansas Department of Political Science

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Title Annotation:Politics
Author:Campbell-Miller, Sarah
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Nov 13, 2017
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