AG Rutledge has a big lead in the Lt. Governor’s field, but the race is still open in the second round

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a group of contenders for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, according to new survey results from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

In the latest survey, conducted May 2, 2022, Rutledge tops 40% with State Senator Jason Rapert his closest competitor at 11%. About 25% of GOP voters remain undecided in the race.

Among 802 likely Republican primary voters, the results were:

lieutenant governor
40% – AG Leslie Rutledge
4% – Doyle Webb
11% – Senator Jason Rapert
8.5% – Greg Bledsoe
4.5% – Chris Bequette
7% – Judge Joseph Wood
25% – Undecided

The winner of the GOP primary faces Democrat Kelly Krout and Libertarian Frank Gilbert.

“This race is truly one of the most intriguing of this election cycle. There are a lot of strong candidates in this race and they are all vying for position should this race end,” said Roby Brock, editor of Talk Business & Politics.

ANALYSIS
Talk Business & Politics seeks bipartisan input in the construction and analysis of its polls.

Dr. Jay Barth, professor emeritus of politics at Hendrix College, is active in Democratic Party politics and helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the survey results:

“While other races are more consequential, probably the most interesting primary this season is the GOP primary for lieutenant governor, which includes several established names in GOP political circles. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge gave up her dream of becoming governor to move on to run for lieutenant governor in the fall of 2021 and quickly emerged as the frontrunner. Rutledge is clearly the leading contender, according to our survey, but it remains to be seen whether she can win the race on May 24 or, conversely, face a tricky second round. If it does not reach a majority, several candidates show ways to finish second, depending on the shape of the primary electorate. Rutledge wins pluralities among most subgroups of the GOP electorate, but is particularly strong among voters without a college degree, among men, and among GOP IDs.

“Interestingly, these are also areas of relative strength for State Senator Jason Rapert, who finished second in the poll. This indicates that Rutledge and Rapert may be competing for similar groups of voters, which means a path may be open for a candidate with appeals to college graduates and women; former state surgeon general Greg Bledsoe may be best positioned to capitalize on Rutledge/Rapert competition If Rutledge decides to push for a first-round majority, however, second place can only be a moral victory for one of the men in the race.

Robert Coon, managing partner of Impact Management Group, which works with Republican political candidates, also helped develop and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the survey results:

“Attorney General Leslie Rutledge leads the pack in the race for lieutenant governor with 40 percent. His eight years as attorney general and his multiple statewide campaigns give him a clear notoriety advantage among Republican primary voters. With 25% of the electorate undecided, it’s possible that Rutledge will reach 50% and win this contest without a runoff, although the wide range of candidates likely makes that more difficult. Rutledge is followed by State Senator Jason Rapert (11%) and Greg Bledsoe (9%), who both ended March with enough cash in hand to make a solid push on the airwaves over the past weeks in search of second place and a potential runoff slot.

“Some candidates in the race for lieutenant governor could see their results improve depending on the outcome of the primary for the United States Senate. Leslie Rutledge (45%) and Bledsoe (11%) fare best among voters choosing Sen. John Boozman, while Rapert (11%) and Chris Bequette (12%), unsurprisingly, fare better among Jake Bequette voters. Notably, Rapert also gets a significant boost among those considering voting for Jan Morgan (21%). In some cases, these boats may go up and down together depending on the overall composition of the electorate and how voters are distributed at the top of the ticket.

METHODOLOGY
The survey of 802 likely voters in the GOP primary election was conducted on May 2, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/-4.3%.

Responses were collected by text message to an online survey and by telephone. The poll is lightly weighted to account for key demographics including age, ethnicity, education and gender. Additional methodology is available upon request.

All media are welcome to reprint, reproduce or repost information from this survey with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. A link to this specific story is also required for any digital or online uses by other media.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at [email protected]

Denise W. Whigham