After a previous poll three weeks ago showed a dead-heat, Fourth District GOP Congressional candidate Tom Cotton appears to have opened a lead over rival Beth Anne Rankin.

The latest Talk Business-Hendrix College survey of Fourth District Republican primary voters shows Cotton emerging as the frontrunner in the Congressional race. The latest poll was conducted on Thursday, May 10, 2012.

51%     Tom Cotton
6%      John Cowart
33%    Beth Anne Rankin
10%    Don’t know

The poll asked voters if they had already participated in the Republican primary and, if they did, respondents were asked to name the candidate for whom they voted. Additional poll participants included frequent GOP primary voters who said they intended to vote in this year’s primary.

Dr. Jay Barth, with the Hendrix College Department of Politics and International Relations, helped craft and analyze the poll. He says Cotton is in a position of strength with a little more than a week to go.

“From the beginning of the race for the GOP nomination in Arkansas’ newly designed Fourth Congressional District, the question has been whether 2010 nominee Beth Anne Rankin’s ties to the Republican base in the district would win out over the money that Tom Cotton could bring to the race,” Barth said. “Our polling suggests that Cotton’s resources, employed on a strong media campaign, are paying off. He has now moved into a solid lead since our last poll which showed them essentially tied.”

Barth added, “One thing of note: while the sample is small, Rankin is doing considerably better with those voters who have already cast an early vote in the election. Previous research shows that strong partisan identifiers are the most likely to vote early, which would correlate to Rankin’s ties in the district. The key question now is whether some late media from Rankin can get her close enough to possibly force a runoff with Cotton.   The newcomer shows himself to be in a strong position, however.”

Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock said, “Cotton has been building momentum in this race for several weeks. A counter by Rankin is the big question mark to see if she can nab enough undecided votes and perhaps flip soft supporters of Cotton or John Cowart into her camp. I still think there is some fluidity to this campaign with a week to go, but Cotton is certainly in an advantageous position to either lead the ticket or win outright.”

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette political columnist John Brummett opines on our latest poll numbers in his Sunday column. Brummett will be our guest on Talk Business tonight for analysis. Tune in to Fox 16 at 10 p.m.

POLL METHODOLOGY
This poll was conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College on Thursday, May 10, 2012. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4.7%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 437 likely Republican voters in Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District.

Participants were selected from a database of district voters who have voted in some or all of the last 5 Republican primary elections and who affirmatively answered a question that they have early/absentee voted or intended to vote in the Republican primary on May 22, 2012.

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business and Hendrix College.

For interviews, contact Brock by email at roby@talkbusiness.net or Barth by email at barth@hendrix.edu.