by Max Brantley
* CONCERNS: It's the economy. Period.
* GOV. BEEBE: Approval rating remains stratospheric — 72 percent favorable.
* SENATORS: Approval ratings for both Sens. John Boozman and Mark Pryor below 50 percent with Boozman, at 44 percent, only a point higher than Blanche Lincoln before he routed her.
* PRESIDENT: Barack Obama's approval remains terrible at 31 percent among likely voters, several points below his vote in Arkansas in 2008 and unchanged from last year.
* PARTY AFFILIATION: Republicans are nearing Democrats in the number self-identifying as members of that party, with the split this year among Republicans, Democrats and independents considered likely voters 29-33-31. BUT ... a strong plurality of independents — 48-28 — consider themselves closer to Republicans than Democrats. The liberal-moderate-conservative split was 16-34-47 (still, in sum, a majority for moderation, barely)
* OUTLOOK: Remarkably sunny. 71 percent think Arkansas is headed in the right direction; most are the same or better off; most think things will remain the same or get better. Hard times? What hard times?
* ISSUES: To broadly simplify: A significant number think climate change is a problem; most don't think health care changes have made things worse; the percentage opposing any legal recognition, civil union or marriage, for gays, has dropped to 50 percent; most support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.