HOUSTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Voters in the U.S. state of Arkansas prefer Republican candidate Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama and remain worried about the economy, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The poll, conducted by the University of Arkansas, showed that likely voters prefer Romney to Obama by a wide margin, 58 percent to 31 percent. The economy again led the list of most important issues to Arkansans, with 47 percent of the respondents naming the economy as their chief concern, following at a distance were health care at 15 percent, drugs at 12 percent and education at 11 percent.
Taxes and immigration were in the single digits. "To the surprise of no one, there's at least a 20 point gap between Obama and Romney among Arkansas voters," poll director Janine Parry said.
"A more interesting finding may be the continued enthusiasm for Gov. Mike Beebe. Since 2007, approval of Gov. Beebe has never dipped below 70 percent. That level of support for a Democratic governor in a Southern state is remarkable in this political climate,"said Parry.
In addition, the poll found that 43 percent of the likely voters want to expand Medicaid to provide health insurance to more low- income people, while 45 percent wanted to keep the program as it is, with no additional federal funding and no change in who is covered.
When asked about life in Arkansas, 73 percent of poll respondents agreed that "Arkansas is generally headed in the right direction." Asked about allowing illegal aliens who graduate from high school in the state to qualify for in-state college tuition, 58 percent disapproved, while 33 percent favored granting them in- state tuition.