by Max Brantley
The results illustrate why Republican consultants are so smugly confident about their chances in state legislative races.
Mike Beebe, who's leading the battle for Democrats, IS very popular, a 64-19 favorable/unfavorable rating.
But ask voters whether they'd vote Democrat or Republican for state legislative races in November and the result statewide was 49-36 Republican, with the rest undecided.
Broken down by congressional districts, Republicans led in preference in all but the 2nd District (another reminder that Reactionary Rovite Republican Rep. Tim Griffin is out of step with his constituents, repeatedly.)
It is worth saying that legislative elections are not necessarily rote choices for Ds and Rs, or at least that has not been the historic pattern, except in the 3rd District. The individual candidates matter — their style, their message, their money, their support from outside groups. That last factor, thanks to Koch money, trends heavily Republican this year. It is also at least a little misleading to look at broad preferences in the state, or even a congressional district, as determinative of the outcomes in much smaller legislative districts, which are drawn by the controlling party (Democratic) to emphasize demographic and historic election patterns. Take Pulaski County. In some precincts, a Republican couldn't be elected dogcatcher. Out in Chenal Valley, a Democrat is typically just about as well received. Average them together and you get a Democratic preference, though narrow, in the county.
Don't get me wrong. Would I rather have Republican generic numbers? Of course. Particularly with the Kochs bankrolling them in a complementary campaign that has now added trashing of Mike Beebe to the roster of themes. For obvious reasons. See poll. (I presume Republicans will want to disavow this poll since it's the work of that turrible Democratic liberal Jay Barth.)