by Max Brantley
Politically, the poll tested 729 voters in late July on:
U.S. SENATE RACE
Mark Pryor 43
Tom Cotton 35
Declined to answer 3
DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY (now moot)
Mike Ross 40
Bill Halter 26
(Combining very and somewhat favorable answers with very and somewhat unfavorable and not reporting unsure, undecided)
Barack Obama 41/56
Mike Beebe 74/18
Mark Pryor 47/34
Tom Cotton 28/22
Mike Ross 38/16
Bill Halter 25/18
Republicans in Congress 42/49
Democrats in Congress 36/57
Government employees 51/34
Outsourcing public service to private companies 34/45
Labor unions 38/52
Note: That was the full list. It didn't include Republican gubernatorial candidates.
The meat of the survey was in questions about increasing the minimum wage, from $7.25, the current federal minimum, to $8.50, with annual indexing to inflation. (The state minimum, which covers a small number of workers not protected by federal law, is actually lower than the federal minimum, at $6.25).
Definitely for 54
Probably for 19
Probably against 7
Asked if respondents would favor covering restaurant servers with the minimum wage rather than just $2.63 an hour, the response
Likely for 69
Likely against 22
Respondents tended to think a minimum wage increase wouldn't hurt business and that it was effective way to fight poverty, but that it would likely raise prices and those prices would most likely affect those, like seniors on fixed income. But to the question of whether raising the minimum wage is "just the right thing to do," respondents agreed 72-24.
Then came questions about the Affordable Care Act.
More likely or less likely to vote for someone who supported the Affordable Care Act?
More likely 34%
Less likely 55% (40 percent "much less likely")
More likely or less likely to vote for someone who supported the so-called "private option" implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Arkansas?
More likely 40
Less likely 36
Neither/no difference 24
What about the initiative circulating to repeal the "private option"
Unsure/no difference 23
Some will undoubtedly quibble with demographics — only 10 percent black, for example, and about evenly split Democratic/Republican, for example.
Tired of Congress; declining warmth toward Mark Pryor; general sympathy for higher wages for lower-income workers. None of these things strike me as remarkable.
For comparison, here are the results of a similar poll in 2007.
That year, Mark Pryor's favorable/unfavorable was 63-23.