by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Times commissioned polling this week on the two-part Little Rock sales tax election. Bottom line of the automated survey by Impact Management:
Broad support for both the 5/8ths of a cent tax for city operations (62-27) and the 3/8ths of a cent for capital needs (55-32).
We'll be publishing the complete results with internal demographics with a review of the tax proposals next week.
The poll covered 400 people identified as registered Little Rock voters. Some factors I noted in the sample: A hefty two-thirds of respondents said they definitely were going to vote. Turnout won't match that. White voters and Democratic voters heavily outweighed blacks and Republicans in the sample. The conventional wisdom has been that the proposal will fare poorly among black voters and that a key factor could be the more conservative western reaches of Little Rock, which trend Republican and vote heavily. However, 30 percent of the sample came from Ward 5, the westernmost city zone.
UPDATE: Here's the complete survey document [link corrected], with results broken down by race, age, political outlook and neighborhood. I note again a numerical preference in the sample for white, female, Democratic respondents. The map below will illustrate where the by-ward results come from (only Ward 2 trended anti-tax and Ward 1, a majority black ward, turned out heaviest in the sampling for the tax.)
I'm wondering, if this is an accurate measure of local sentiment, if you can extrapolate to other political realms. For example, will U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock be voting absentee for a 200 percent increase in the city sales tax, a measure that will increase annual city spending by about 25 percent? His constituents seem to like the idea.