Our Arkansas poll this week has been mostly bad news for Democrats so far, but here's something positive: Mike Beebe continues to be the most popular of the more than 50 Governors and Senators we've taken an approval rating for across the country so far in 2009.
63% of voters in the state approve of the job he's doing with only 17% disapproving. He gets good marks from 76% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and even 50% of Republicans, something very unusual with the current level of polarization in American politics. Another interesting anomaly in his numbers is that at 64% his approval with whites is actually higher than his 58% with African Americans, something we've never found to be the case before with a Democratic politician.
No serious opposition to Beebe for reelection has stepped forward yet, but just to get some idea of how he would match up against a Republican we tested State Representative Allen Kerr. Beebe leads Kerr, who has only 4% positive name recognition, 55-24. Beebe's reelect number running behind his approval number is a function of only 24% of GOP voters saying they would vote for him, even though they approve of the job he's doing.
Arkansas may be a battleground next year, but it seems pretty safe to say that's only because of the Senate race.
Full results here