|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Westerman (R)||Witt (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||--||53.7||42.6||Westerman +11.1|
|Talk Business Poll*||10/15 - 10/16||607 LV||4.0||44||42||Westerman +2|
|Talk Business Poll*||7/22 - 7/25||439 LV||4.7||48||34||Westerman +14|
10/21/14 -- The Talk Business poll shows a tightening race here, with Westerman leading Witt by only two points. This will still be a tough slog for a Democrat in the current environment, but Witt is in better shape than most observers suspected he would be at this point.
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 elected just 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 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 retired in 2012, and Republican Tom Cotton easily won the seat. Cotton has now set his sights on the Senate, producing the second open-seat contest in two cycles. State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman is an experienced candidate with the partisan tilt of the district on his side, but former FEMA director and Clinton confidant James Lee Witt is a decent fit for the district and could make things interesting.