Arkansas Archive:

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Howard Dean to speaks to politics of old

Posted by Bob Brigham


LITTLE ROCK - Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will be the keynote speaker Friday at the Association of State Democratic Chairs luncheon.

Dean will highlight the committee's agenda to strengthen the state parties in his speech.

That couldn't be a better topic for the ASDC. Under Mark Brewer's reign ASDC has been a disaster.

Posted at 01:49 AM in Activism, Arkansas, DNC Chair | Technorati

Friday, October 29, 2004

DNC Heads into Arkansas

Posted by

Markos has a post on his Daily Kos website about the DNC putting $250,000 toward television advertising in Arkansas. The information comes from an article in today's Arkansas Times. (The AT is a respected weekly paper that endorsed Kerry for President in last week's edition.)

Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, just held a conference call with Arkansas media to announce a $250,000 television ad buy for Arkansas.

Starting tonight, and continuing through Election Day, the ads will run on stations in Little Rock, Ft. Smith, and Jonesboro.

The latest public polls in Arkansas were not as positive as the Zogby (49.4% B / 48.6% K) and Opinion Research (48% B / 48% K) polls released last week. A recent SUSA poll has Bush leading 51% to 45% and a poll by the University of Arkansas has Bush leading 47% to 40% (notice that Bush is still polling far under 50% in this poll.) However, according to Terry McAuliffe, the DNC internal polls show Arkansas as a dead heat.

McAuliffe said that the commitment, which is their largest in any Southern state besides Florida, was motivated by their own internal tracking polls, which show the presidential race is a dead heat in Arkansas.

"The state is switching from red to blue," McAuliffe said. "We would not be spending a quarter of a million dollars there if it did not show that we could win."

In addition to television, radio ads will be purchased as well. And the DNC isn't the only group spending money in Arkansas today. As Markos points out, the group Win Back Respect has bought $500,000 in television advertising and $22,000 in radio. They're currently running the ad titled Brooke's Story, which I've seen multiple times already. and some other groups are also running ads in the state. (I've seen them myself, but can't recall the name of the groups behind them.)

McAuliffe also confirmed that Clinton would visit the state on Sunday afternoon for a campaign event, but the details have yet to be finalized.

For those of you wondering about a recent comment I made about the owner of the Boston Red Sox growing up in Arkansas, well the Arkansas Times also has a story on it this week. It seems he grew up in Forrest City, AR as a die-hard St. Louis fan, ironically. And finally, the AP has an article out on the Arkansas Election Commission secretly meeting to discuss possible problems with Arkansas' GOP first lady, Janet Huckabee, as a poll worker in an important black precint for Democrats in Little Rock.

P.S. I just received an email from the Democrat Party in Arkansas that Clinton will be at the Aerospace Education Center on Sunday evening. Tickets will be available for anyone who wants to attend, starting tomorrow at party offices in Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and elsewhere.

Update: I missed an article in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about General Wesley Clark speaking yesterday at an event organized by the Win Back Respect group mentioned above. It's nice to see homegrown Arkansans speaking out for Kerry/Edwards!

FWIW, the article also mentions a couple of groups speaking out against the Gay Marriage Amendment. I'm guessing that it'll pass anyway, but there have been a surprising number of people to speak out against it. As I mentioned last time, even the conservative ADG wouldn't support it.

Posted at 12:34 AM in Arkansas | Comments (15) | Technorati

Monday, October 25, 2004

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Endorses Bush

Posted by

The largest paper in the state of Arkansas endorsed President Bush today (subscription required). This isn't surprising because it endorsed him in 2000 and has continously supported him since.

However, Arkansas is still in play. A new poll by Opinion Research was released yesterday and has both candidates tied at 48%. This same poll gave Bush a 9 point lead just two weeks ago. Former President Clinton is said to have asked Kerry to make a visit to Arkansas and might make one on Kerry's behalf himself. The NY Daily News reports today:

Clinton is seen by many as a key weapon in Kerry's plan to overtake President Bush in the poll that counts - next Tuesday's vote. And with a new tracking poll showing Bush and Kerry now even in Arkansas, a state the GOP thought it had sewn up, there was speculation Clinton may add his home state to his itinerary.

"That is something that we're not yet ready to reveal," said Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart, who served as an aide to the former commander-in-chief. Among other possible battleground stops for Clinton this week is New Mexico.

If nothing else, this has to leave the Bush campaign feeling uneasy and possibly looking at targeting Arkansas with new ad buys that will cost them elsewhere. As for Clinton, the Daily News article says that he'll talk with Diane Sawyer this morning on Good Morning America.

Posted at 07:39 AM in Arkansas | Comments (23) | Technorati

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Is Zogby Right About Arkansas?

Posted by DavidNYC

Team Kerry has all but pulled out of Arkansas. I know that some people on this disagree with this move, but I'm not sure where exactly I come down. Most pollsters show Bush winning the state pretty handily at this point, but Zogby has consistently shown it to be a close race. Here are all the known polls since the Republican convention:


Polling Date











Rasmussen ($)






Opinion Research






Zogby ($)












Survey USA
























Zogby ($)






I want to point out that the Zogby polls listed here aren't all just the Interactive polls. The most recent one at the top appears to be a traditional poll, so I find it quite interesting that those results match so closely with Zogby's online results. As you can see, Zogby has even had Kerry leading by a tiny bit on occasion. And Bush is well below 49% in all polls.

So what gives? If we were just talking about the online polls, I might be tempted to write these results off. But the coroboration by the traditional poll is quite striking. And Zogby has polled this race too often to be written off as a mere outlier. But if Zogby is really correct, that would mean Rasmussen, SUSA and Opinion Research are all wrong - though ARG's 9/16 poll does appear to be in common with Zogby's results.

What if the Big Dog delivers a great speech in Little Rock, rising from a wheelchair, Roosevelt-like, on the eve of the election? Might Bush be in for a nasty November surprise in Arkansas? It's easy to think of many scenarios where AR's 6 EVs would make the difference for us, so I would hate to see the state wind up as this year's Ohio.

So what do you think? Can we win here, despite the apparent pullout?

(Poll data courtesy

Posted at 02:14 PM in Arkansas | Comments (59) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Update: Arkansas

Posted by

The latest from Zogby gives Kerry a 0.2% lead in Arkansas (46.9% Kerry vs. 46.7% Bush). This is a good sign that the recent Bush surge in the state has come to a halt (the last few polls had Bush pulling out in front.) It's also a good sign because Arkansas is an important swing state: It's six electoral votes could prove to be important in getting Kerry over the hump of the 270 EVs needed to win the election in certain scenarios where the five EVs of Nevada, New Mexico, or West Virginia would leave Kerry with only 269 EVs.

It appears that the fight to keep Nader off the ballot in Arkansas is now dead, after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Friday, by a 4-3 margin, to overturn a circuit court's ruling that the "signatories who petitioned for Nader's name to be on the ballot had not declared him as their candidate." However, Nader received only 1.46% of the popular vote in 2000 in Arkansas, and I'm not so sure there won't be more Republicans than Democrats casting their vote for Nader this time around.

Overall, I'd say that things look pretty positive in Arkansas: There's a strong ground campaign, lots of attention on the grand opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in 42 days, and I've noticed an increase in support for Kerry in the letters section of the state's largest newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Michael Moore was in the state Sunday to speak in front of a packed audience at a local University, and he allowed the sister of deceased Beatle George Harrison to say a few words on her disagreement with the war in Iraq. (This sort of stuff plays big in Arkansas!)

Finally, I want to note that the SSP was mentioned in an article on the front page of the Democrat-Gazette (unfortunately, it's subscription only). The article was about the Democrats successfully deploying a larger number of out-of-state ground troops in Arkansas than the GOP. Here's an excerpt:

For those who want to participate in such up-close politics, several Internet sites have popped up this election season, designed to enable volunteers to travel with ease into swing states across the country both to register voters and, now, after most registration deadlines have passed, participate in getout-the-vote efforts.

Most of those Web sites, including,, and, which advertises itself as the "anti-Bush travel agency," are geared toward Democrats.

Congratulations David and SSP'ers!

Posted at 11:40 PM in Arkansas | Comments (34) | Technorati

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Rasmussen Roundup Redux

Posted by DavidNYC

Speaking of Rasmussen, he's got a bunch more polls out this weekend. DemFromCT over at Kos has the roundup once again.

Kerry's up 5 in MN and 6 in MI. He's down 5 in AR. Oh, he's also (still) up 12 in NJ, for those of you who might be fretting over Quinnipiac's last showing. And here's an interesting detail: In the first poll of South Carolina this year, Kerry's back only 10 points. This is a state Bush won by 16 in 2000. We aren't going to win here, but if Bush remains this far back from his 2000 numbers here, SC could be a sort of canary in the coalmine for what's going to happen to Dubya in other closer states.

Posted at 05:46 PM in Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota | Technorati

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Kerry & Bush in Arkansas

Posted by

President Bush is scheduled to give a speech on his No Child Left Behind Act today, at a Van Buren, AR high school. The stop in the Republican controlled region of NW Arkansas will mark the third trip to Arkansas for Bush since the start of the year. In his 2000 campaign, against Al Gore, Bush made a total of eight trips to the state.

John Kerry is scheduled to make his first campaign trip to Arkansas on Wednesday and Thursday. Kerry will be accompanied on his trip by retired General Wesley Clark. They will attend a fund-raiser reception at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock and on Thursday Kerry will make a speech on health care, before leaving the state.

Arkansas is often touted as a must-win state for President Bush and he has campaigned heartily here, while Kerry has yet to spend much time in the state. Arkansas has lost 40,000 jobs in the past 3 years and that is certain to hurt President Bush, while giving Kerry a boost in the state. In response, the Bush campaign has been running 30 second ads claiming that Kerry voted against Patriot Missiles, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and BlackHawk Helicopters, noting that they're "all built here in Arkansas."

Retired General Wesley Clark - who is increasingly being mentioned as Kerrys' running mate - recently announced the creation of a new political-action committee, titled WesPAC - Securing America's future. General Clark plans to use the PAC money to "replace the current, radical administration and its political allies" and to advocate the Democrat Party as the emerging party of strong leadership on national security. In addition, he plans to continue making trips to key battleground states to speak for Kerry and praise the candidate on television appearances.

Hal Bass, a political-science professor at Ouachita Baptist University, had expected Bush to win Arkansas, but now believes it could go to John Kerry, instead. He notes recent information coming out of Iraq as harmful to Bush and opening the door for Kerry in Arkansas - a state where the latest poll has Kerry and Bush tied.

Posted at 03:03 PM in Arkansas | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

New Guest Poster for Arkansas, LiberalAce

Posted by DavidNYC

LiberalAce, a denizen of Arkansas and frequent commenter around these parts, is joining the SSP team. Naturally, he'll be reporting on what's happening in the home state of my favorite living president, William Jefferson "Big Dog" Clinton. So give him a warm welcome, and also check out his blog, Political Bytes.

Posted at 02:36 PM in Arkansas, Site News | Comments (6) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Is Arkansas a Legit Swing State?

Posted by DavidNYC

Though lately I've been more sanguine about AR, I've still been a bit hesitant to consider it in the top tier of tossup swing states. But reader Arkansas native LiberalAce makes an eloquent argument for Arkansas in the comments which I think merits promotion to the main page:

I think you may be selling Arkansas short. The latest Rasmussen poll has Bush and Kerry tied. [At 45-45. - David] I think Arkansas is a true swing state.

I also believe you're wrong in that if Kerry picks up Arkansas then he'll already have Ohio or Florida. I think Kerry could win Arkansas and not pick up either of the other two.

A few things to remember:

1. Arkansas is the home state of Clinton, who spent 12 years as the Governor. I doubt you've forgotten that, but it deserves mentioning.

2. Our senators and congressmen are all Democrats; except for one congressman. Arkansas has always been a Democrat state; albeit it leans toward the conservative side.

3. I think John Edwards would make a good difference in Arkansas. Edwards has the perfect southern charm to appeal to all Arkies, but what makes him stand out is his appeal to Republicans in the state. Edwards' self-made financial success will probably entice Republicans in the state more than you may think. This is a state where the "haves" all vote Republican for fiscal/business reasons and there are a lot more "haves" in the state than most people realize. Although Edwards is very supportive of the "have-nots", I don't think many of the "haves" see him that way, because of his financial success. Instead, they see him like themselves.

4. I think Arkansas went to Bush by four points in 2000. [It was 51-46, Nader at 1.5. - David] However, I think some probably voted Republican because they were embarrassed by the Monica L. bit and will be over that by now: especially with the new Clinton Library opening soon in Little Rock, which will bring new pride to the state.

5. Republicans have taken a beating in the state as of late. Our Republican Governor has greatly upset his party several times.

6. Finally, Arkies hate everything Texas; save the Dallas Cowboys, which is owned by an Arkie and viewed as a slap on Texas.

I truly believe that Arkansas is a tossup. What worries me most is that Bush will do some campaign maneuvering to provide some sort of incentive to bring jobs to the state, shortly before the election. Arkansas has lost a lot of jobs and it's a critical issue here.

I agree with much of the above, though I'm not an especially big believer in the power of VP picks to bring votes. What still concerns me most, however, was the size of the margin in 2000. AR was (depending on how you slice it) either the 12th- or 14th-closest state, which isn't all that close. Put another way, that's the second-biggest margin (after WV) of all the red states we're seriously targeting. So I still have a hard time seeing us pick up 5 points in AR but not getting 2 points in Ohio. That said, if we can sneak in and snag AR while the GOP has its back turned, more power to us!

LiberalAce also suggests that Clinton-related wounds have healed in the past four years. I had previously wondered how the Big Dog would be received in his home state - in other words, should we send him out on the stump? LiberalAce, back to you for that question.

P.S. Kossaks are a-chatterin' about the AR polls numbers, as well as some new Oregon numbers which show us ahead narrowly at 48-46.

Posted at 02:24 PM in Arkansas | Comments (9) | Technorati

Friday, April 16, 2004

SUSA: Kerry Nipping Bush's Heels in Arkansas

Posted by DavidNYC

We haven't talked much about Arkansas yet on this site, but Markos has a nice bit of news: Kerry is just two points back of Bush according to SUSA's latest poll (PDF):

Bush: 47
Kerry: 45
Other: 5
(MOE: 4.2%)

While I've considered Arkansas one of the more marginal swing states (ie, among the least likely to go our way), this is very heartening. Though I haven't heard much about it yet, it seems that the presidential candidates have been hitting the airwaves in AR. So if Kerry's still holding his own here while (presumably) being outspent by Bush, then I like the sound of this poll even more.

After a lot of editing and re-editing, I've decided to turn this post into a more thorough look at Arkansas, so I'll back up a bit and give a little background data on the state:

Electoral Votes: 6 (6 in 2000)

2000 Results:

Bush: 51.31%
Gore: 45.86%
Nader: 1.46%
Buchanan: 0.80%

A poll result like this, of course, once again raises the issue of AR-native Wes Clark and the VP slot. I still don't think he'll get the nod, but this might strengthen the case for him. At least one observer, a poli-sci prof. at Northeastern, thinks that a strong VP candidate can add 3% in his home state. If Clark's our man, that could really be decisive here. (I'm still a fan of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, but that's a topic for another time.)

Results like these might also get some commentators to shut up about the Dems supposedly not being able to compete in the South, especially if you throw in the fact that Rasmussen has Florida neck-and-neck. If a few polls pop up showing Kerry within the MOE in, say, TN, KY, LA and VA (the last is especially likely, I think), then we might even see some articles like, "The South, Once a Sure Thing for Bush, Becomes Uncertain." I'm not saying we'll win those states - just that close polling will cause consternation in the Bush camp and, hopefully, a media pile-on.

But we might actually win Arkansas. I'd love to see it happen. Though I can't find any more recent data, I was quite surprised to see that, at least back in October, Bush was well under the Mendoza line in AR: His approval/disapproval was just 47-46. Of course, this was pre-Saddam capture (that bounce was pretty temporary, though) and also pre-all the other crap that's been going on lately - so I can only imagine Bush's numbers are equal if not worse at this point. I'd also point out that Arkansas's unemployment rate has moved up from 4.7% in Jan. 2001 to 5.5% this past February. (And as always, these numbers don't reflect the number of people who "drop out" of the labor force because they stop looking for work, thus misleadingly depressing the unemployment number.)

Oh, and get this: Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who is up for re-election, is utterly swamping her Republican opponents in the money race. She's got $3.1 million cash-on-hand right now, while the GOoPers vying to take her on literally have chump-change - just a few grand each. I mean, that's walking-around money for a weekend hunting ducks with Cheney and Scalia. Yes, this is one of our safer seats - even the NRO thinks this seat is a lock for us - but once again, it gives lie to the idea that our party can't do well in the South.

Hmm... I'm starting to like the idea of a blue Arkansas more and more, especially since Team Kerry says they plan to contest the state. So what's the next step here? I say have Lincoln and guys like former Sen. Dale Bumpers canvas the state for Kerry. I think we need locals making the case that Kerry is in-step (or at least, not wildly out-of-step) with Arkansas values, because we can be sure that Bush will try to pound the "Massachusetts liberal" meme as hard as he can. And if the polling shows he'd be a net plus, get Bill Clinton out there. Heaven only knows how much I'd like to see the Big Dawg out on the stump once again.

Posted at 10:33 PM in Arkansas | Comments (7) | Technorati

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