Congressional Quarterly ranks Arkansas as a “safe Republican” hold for John McCain in the November presidential election. Democratic consultant Steve Patterson says that race is an issue for many rural voters:
One of Obama’s challenges in Arkansas is that blacks make up 16 percent of the state’s population, a smaller African-American voter base than in much of the South. And race could be an issue for some of the state’s white voters, said Arkansas Democratic consultant Steve Patterson. “There are a lot of voters in rural Arkansas that are having difficulty with the fact that Sen. Obama is black,” he said.