|Poll||Date||Sample||Rankin (R)||Ross (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||40.2||57.5||Ross +17.3|
|Talk Business Poll||10/14 - 10/14||518 LV||34||52||Ross +18|
|Talk Business Poll||8/25 - 8/26||956 LV||31||49||Ross +18|
|2008: Ross (D) 86%, Drake (G) 14%||2008: McCain (R) 58%, Obama (D) 39%|
|2006: Mike Ross (D) 75%, Joe Ross (R) 25%||2004: Bush (R) 51%, Kerry (D) 48%|
|2004: Ross (D) Unopposed
||2000: Gore (D) 49%, Bush (R) 48%|
10/24/10 -- Rankin continues to trail, although Ross' poll numbers remain stubbornly around 50 percent. As of right now, the most likely scenario appears to be a Ross win, though by a much smaller margin than he is accustomed to.
The 4th Congressional District is really the only truly “Southern” district in Arkansas. Much of it is former plantation country, and the small cities and towns that dot its landscape have produced a number of the most successful Democratic politicians in the state’s history, including Joseph Robinson, John McClellan, David Pryor, and of course, Bill Clinton.
The 4th and its antecedents (for most of the 20th century the areas of the 4th were divided among the 4th, 6th and 7th Districts) have only elected one Republican to Congress since Reconstruction. The real danger for Democrats came from fratricide; seven Democratic incumbents were defeated in primaries from 1892 until 1992. The last bout of fratricide is what elected the Republican, four-term Rep. Jay Dickey. Dickey, in turn, lost in 2000 to Mike Ross after Dickey voted to impeach hometown hero Bill Clinton in a district that had given Clinton almost two-thirds of the vote in 1996.
Ross hasn’t faced a serious challenge since his initial election, and isn’t likely to this year. His opponent, former Miss Arkansas Beth Anne Rankin, has had relatively weak fundraising, though the district is inexpensive to advertise in. Also, Ross did help move the president’s health care bill through the Energy and Commerce Committee, which could come back to haunt him if the wave gets big enough.