LITTLE ROCK — Six in 10 Arkansas voters favor a measure in the Legislature to ban abortions at 12 weeks into a pregnancy and more than half support expanding Medicaid, results of a new poll show.
The poll by Talk Business and Hendrix College showed 60 percent of respondents favored Senate Bill 134 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway. The bill would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an abdominal ultrasound. If a heartbeat was detected — usually by 12 weeks of gestation — an abortion would be prohibited, except in cases of rape, incest, medical emergency and if a mother’s life is in danger.
Thirty-three percent opposed the measure and 7 percent said they did not know.
On the second question, 53.5 percent said the state should follow Gov. Mike Beebe’s recommendation to expand the state Medicaid program to cover Arkansans who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. State human services officials say doing so would make basic health insurance available to up to 250,000 additional residents, most of whom work but don’t earn enough to afford coverage.
Forty percent said the state should not expand the government health program for the poor, the elderly and the disabled, and 7.5 percent said they did not know.
Talk Business Research and Hendrix surveyed 675 frequent Arkansas voters statewide by automated telephone calls Wednesday. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percent.