CNN is reporting today that a new poll shows Mark Pryor is leading Tom Cotton in the race for the U.S. Senate. This makes the second poll this week showing the incumbent in the lead.
Before unveiling the numbers, please remember my standard caveat for all polls released by third parties – take all of them with a grain of salt. This poll was commissioned by “Give Arkansas a Raise Now,” the group pushing a petition initiative for raising the state’s minimum wage.
This poll was conducted by Opinion Research, an Arkansas-based polling firm, and their live interviews were conducted April 1-8. The sample was 400 likely voters and the margin of error is ±5.
Here is the U.S. Senate poll question:
Q2. In the race for the United States Senate, the candidates are the incumbent Senator Mark Pryor, and the challenger, Congressman Tom Cotton. If the election were held today, would you vote for:
1. Tom Cotton, the Republican – 38%
2. Mark Pryor, the Democrat – 48%
3. Don’t know/no response – 13%
Before Democrats become overconfident with the results and before Republicans howl in protest, please harken back to the ±5 margin of error notation earlier. As CNN noted in their story, these results are right at the edge of the polling sample.
The poll did not include the third-party candidates from the Green and Libertarian Parties.
Unreported by CNN is the fact the poll also shows Mike Ross leading Asa Hutchinson in the Governor’s race:
Q1. Arkansas will elect a new governor this year, and so far there are two likely announced candidates. If the election were held today, would you vote for:
1. Asa Hutchinson, the Republican – 39%
2. Mike Ross, the Democrat – 45%
3. Don’t know/no response – 17%
The Cotton campaign circulated a memo to the press today attacking the poll’s credibility. They believe the poll undersampled Republican voters and they took issue with other aspects of the polling methodology.
But I know Opinion Research does have a track record of correctly calling numerous races over the years.
Taking into account the margin error, along with sample size and the missing third-party candidates, these numbers are likely close to what the Talk Business poll showed earlier this week.
Mark Pryor and Mike Ross are leading their opponents at this time, but the exact numbers are dependent on which poll you examine.