Public Policy Polling just put out a poll on the 2014 Arkansas governor's race which shows good news for former Congressman Asa Hutchinson.  He holds a commanding double-digit lead.  The poll also shows signs of early damage for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel due to his recent admission of an “inappropriate” relationship with a Hot Springs attorney.

The poll found 46 percent of voters preferred Hutchinson with 33 percent preferring McDaniel and 22 percent still undecided.

This 13-point lead looks even more impressive in light of the poll having a +2 Democratic sample.  Of the respondents, 33 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 31 percent identified themselves as Republicans, and the largest group of 36 percent identified as independents.  This likely means Hutchinson is doing very well with independents.

The poll also found that roughly half of the respondents had heard a lot about “controversy surrounding the candidacy of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for Governor of Arkansas” with another 18 percent hearing something about it.

This poll shows trouble for McDaniel who released an internal poll in December before his scandal broke indicating he trailed Hutchinson by three points with 44 for Hutchinson and 41 for McDaniel. This PPP poll shows Hutchinson with only slightly higher support, but with McDaniel's support dropping down to the low 30's.

The poll also has a +9 favorable rating for Hutchinson and a -15 unfavorable rating for McDaniel. Bad news for McDaniel.

Noted – the poll was paid for by Jobs Now, a union group which is normally pretty friendly with Bill Halter.  Does this mean it is more likely Halter might jump in?

“Bill Halter's status remains the same. He is seriously considering a run for governor,” says Halter's spokesman Bud Jackson.

UPDATE – PPP adds a few more details including numbers showing McDaniel doing poorly with independents and losing the female vote. A Democrat cannot win in Arkansas with out running up a big lead among female voters.  From PPP…

Lack of support from independents is what’s really hurting McDaniel. Hutchison beats McDaniel by 27 points with independents, 49% to 22%. Hutchison’s favorability is +4 with independents compared to -26 for McDaniel. McDaniel is also struggling with Democratic voters: 24% view Hutchison favorably and 30% view McDaniel unfavorably. Hutchinson leads among both women (42-34) and men (49-31).

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Jason Tolbert
Jason Tolbert is the moderator for his opinion blog, The Tolbert Report. He can be reached by e-mail at Jason@TolbertReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TolbertReport.