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Poll: Democrat Mike Beebe Leads Republican Asa Hutchinson in Race for Arkansas Governor

Democrat Mike Beebe is leading Republican Asa Hutchinson in the race for Arkansas governor, a poll released Thursday showed.

Fifty-one percent of people who said they were likely to vote Nov. 7 said they would choose Beebe, the state's attorney general, and 38 percent say they would pick Hutchinson, a former congressman, according to the Arkansas Poll by the University of Arkansas.

Other earlier polls had shown Beebe with a similar lead, and he also has led Hutchinson in fundraising for what has easily become the most expensive governor's race in the state's history. Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee cannot seek a third four-year term because of term limits.

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Poll director Janine Parry said that Arkansas voters most often named health care, education or the economy as their top concerns — not immigration or gay marriage, two issues Republicans have increasingly focused on in state races.

The poll, conducted between Oct. 8 and Oct. 17, surveyed 594 respondents who said they were likely to vote, with an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Hutchinson campaign spokesman David Kinkade said his internal polls show a close race. "We're not putting a great deal of stock" in public polls, Kinkade said.

Beebe spokesman Zac Wright said, "The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day."

Beebe collected nearly $5.7 million by September, compared to nearly $3.1 million for Hutchinson, according to campaign-finance reports.

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