|Poll||Date||Sample||Causey (D)||Crawford (R)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||43.5||51.8||Crawford +8.3|
|Talk Business Poll||10/14 - 10/14||436 LV||34||42||Crawford +8|
|The Hill/Penn, Schoen & Berland (D)||10/5 - 10/7||409 LV||34||46||Crawford +12|
|Talk Business Poll||8/17 - 8/17||630 LV||32||48||Crawford +16|
10/24/10 -- The polling here has shown a consistent lead for Crawford, although it remains in low-single digits. Democrats remain optimistic about their chances in the district, but it isn't at all clear whether that optimism is at all justified.
Arkansas’s 1st Congressional District covers most of eastern Arkansas. It is centered on the Mississippi River Delta, although it stretches inland to the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is largely rural (55 percent) and agricultural, and even the urban areas aren’t recognizably so to city-dwellers; the largest urban areas are Jonesboro (pop. 55,000), West Memphis (pop. 36,000) and Paragould (pop. 22,000).
The district has not elected a Republican to Congress since the end of Reconstruction. Only two times since Reconstruction ended -- 1994 and 1996 – has the Republican candidate won more than 40 percent of the vote; from 1930-1968 the GOP never once bothered to field a candidate.
All of which is to say: Republicans have a good chance to win the district, which is open due to Marion Berry’s retirement, but you shouldn’t be deceived by John McCain’s 59 percent of the vote in 2008. Democrats still dominate the district at the local level, and its residents probably prefer a conservative Democrat to a Republican.
The big question is whether voters will believe that the Democratic nominee, former Berry Chief of Staff Chad Causey, is sufficiently conservative. As of this writing, defeated Democratic primary candidate Tim Woolridge still has not endorsed the more liberal Causey, a divide that could cause problems in the general election. Republicans are high on farm broadcaster Rick Crawford’s chances here.
|2008: Berry (D) Unopposed
||2008: McCain (R) 59%, Obama (D) 38%|
|2006: Berry (D) 69%, Stumbaugh (R) 31%||2004: Bush (R) 52%, Kerry (D) 47%|
|2004: Berry (D) 67%, Humphrey (R) 33%||2000: Gore (D) 50, Bush (R) 48