The latest Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll of 675 Arkansas voters gauges public opinion in head-to-head match-ups between Hutchinson and Halter and Hutchinson and Ross.
Hutchinson, a former Third District Congressman and three-time failed statewide candidate, has said he'll be a candidate for Governor in 2014. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) in 2010, has also announced his candidacy. Retired former Fourth District Congressman Mike Ross is reportedly reconsidering his previous decision not to run for Governor.
Last Thursday, Curtis Coleman, a failed 2010 Republican Senate candidate, announced he would seek the GOP nomination for Governor, and former two-time GOP gubernatorial nominee Sheffield Nelson has said he's contemplating a run. Another potential Democratic candidate includes Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter, who has never sought an elected office before. None of these men were included in the poll.
"At this juncture in the 2014 Governor's race - which is early - we polled the two candidates and potential candidate with the highest name identification," said Roby Brock, executive editor of Talk Business Arkansas. "As we move forward, we will look to do some exclusive primary polling as well as test other general election match-ups when more campaigning takes place."
"As for these results, you have to say that Asa Hutchinson begins in the driver's seat, although it is interesting that Mike Ross appears more competitive than Bill Halter in a general election match-up. These numbers should be taken at face-value: no serious money or campaigning has taken place so far and I would expect the numbers to shift substantially going forward," Brock added.
Survey respondents were asked:
Q: If the 2014 Governor's Race was a contest between Democrat Bill Halter and Republican Asa Hutchinson and the election were today, for whom would you vote?
31% Bill Halter
47% Asa Hutchinson
22% Don't Know
Q: If the 2014 Governor's Race was a contest between Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross and the election were today, for whom would you vote?
43% Asa Hutchinson
38% Mike Ross
19% Don't Know
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