Arkansas Poll gives GOP big leads in high-profile election races

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 144 views 

With less than a week until Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the latest polling in the race for Arkansas governor and U.S. Senate show Republicans with leads that are outside the margin of error.

The 16th annual Arkansas Poll, conducted by the University of Arkansas, shows U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, leading incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., by a 13 point margin, 49% to 36%.

In the race for governor, former Republican U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson is leading former Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Ross by 11 points, 50% to 39%.

The poll, conducted between Oct. 21 and Oct. 27, has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%, meaning that both Republican candidates have large leads outside the margin of error.

In the race for Senate, Arkansas Poll Director Janine Parry noted that among men, the spread between Cotton and Pryor widens to 21 points with 57% favoring the freshman Republican congressman versus only 36% supporting Pryor. But polling of women showed no difference between the two, with both men showing 42% support among female respondents.

Parry said the calculated difference between male and female votes for the leading candidates was 15 points, the largest in Arkansas Poll history.

And she said that is why left-leaning candidates and PACs have focused on women's issues in the month leading up to the election.

“It is no accident that the Democrats seem to have made October the month of the woman,” she said. “Not only are women as likely to favor Pryor as they are Cotton, but their votes are still up for grabs. While 7 percent of men answered ‘don’t know’ or refused to answer, 13 percent of women were in one of those categories.”

Democrats may have made an effort to win more votes from female voters, but it may not be working as Cotton's lead has widened by 3.5% from the Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College poll conducted Oct. 15 and Oct. 16, in which Cotton's lead was 8.5 points over Pryor, 49% to 40.5%. Six percent of respondents in that poll identified as being undecided in the race.

Cotton's campaign was upbeat when asked for comment on the latest polling, campaign spokesman David Ray said.

"We feel good about where the race is right now, but we're not taking anything for granted," he said. "Tom and our volunteers are working around the clock to turn out our voters and win on Election Day. Arkansans are ready for change, and they're ready for a U.S. Senator who has what it takes to stand up to President Obama in Washington."

The Pryor campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

In the race for governor, the Arkansas Poll numbers are far off the previous Talk Business/Hendrix College poll, conducted Oct. 15 and Oct. 16, which had Hutchinson at 49% to Ross's 41%.

J.R. Davis, spokesman for the Hutchinson campaign, said the Arkansas Poll showed that Hutchinson's campaign was connecting with Arkansas voters.

"We are very excited by the results and our momentum that demonstrates Asa's plan is resonating with voters, but we know how important it is to get our voters out on election day.  We will not rest on poll numbers but we will campaign through the finish line."

Ross's campaign, on the other hand, pointed to an internal poll conducted Oct. 25 and Oct. 26, which shows a statistical dead heat for the gubernatorial and Senate races.

“We have outraised Congressman Hutchinson by more than $2 million in this campaign and a poll just last week showed Mike Ross leading by 2 points, so we are excited about the strong position and momentum our campaign has heading into Election Day," said Ross spokesman Brad Howard.

"Mike Ross is focused on the only poll that matters, the one on Election Day. He is traveling all across the state meeting as many voters as he can between now and Election Day and talking about his Jobs First plan to strengthen education – particularly pre-k and career tech – cut taxes, reduce regulations and create more and better-paying jobs."