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Election polls show which candidates are ahead in Arkansas

With midterm elections right around the corner, experts in Arkansas explained how reliable election polls actually are in showing which candidates are ahead.

ARKANSAS, USA — We are about 45 days out from the election and new polls have been showing which candidates are ahead in the state and the issues that people care most about.

Hundreds of Arkansans have received calls or texts asking how they plan to vote this November— their answers guide election polls that determine where candidates stand.

But who exactly gets asked to participate in these polls and how reliable are they? We asked the experts.

UALR Political Science Professor, Rebecca Glazier said election polls can show voters where their favorite candidates currently stand.

"We just almost treat politics these days like a sporting event and so we kind of want to know who's ahead and who's in the lead," Glazier said.

That enthusiasm can be felt by those like first-time voter Christina Arendale, who mentioned that she's been very excited about the upcoming election because of the candidates.  

The numbers in election polls come from a wide sample of likely voters.

"A good poll will pick a sample of people that is the same proportion. That the whole population has like ethnicity and education and of course, partisanship," Glazier said.

Pollster Terry Benham with Impact Management Group, a partner in recent Arkansas polls, said a lot of time and money goes into making sure those standings are reliable.

"Reputable polling firms go out of their way to make sure that those questions aren't crafted in a way that's going to form a bias," Benham said.

After about 800 Arkansans were surveyed with Talk and Business earlier this month, their latest poll showed Sarah Huckabee Sanders leading Chris Jones, following our state's Republican trend.

"Arkansas is a very red state, that's not going to change... but... the purpose of the polling going on right now is to inform those decisions going into the election cycle," Benham added.

While Benham explained that the data can be a good guide, it's not a guarantee. Which is something similar to what we saw in the 2016 presidential election.

"I don't think those polls were off. What those polls indicated was that if the election were held that day, that this is kind of what the political environment looked like. Now, what that doesn't factor in is turnout," Benham said.

Glazier emphasized that anything could happen over the next few months.

"A poll that's taken today doesn't count for all the new people that are going to get registered between now and Election Day," Glazier said.  

Voters know they should take the polls with a grain of salt as they prepare for Election Day.

"That doesn't mean that that person is going to win. I'm really excited to just make my vote count," Arendale said.


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