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Arkansas Senate - Cotton vs. Pryor

Candidates

Tom Cotton

Tom Cotton (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor (D)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Arkansas Snapshot

RCP Average:
RCP Ranking: Leans GOP
2014 Key Races: Governor | AR-2 | AR-4

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

2012: President
2010Governor | SenateAR-1 | AR-2 | AR-4
2008: President
2006: Governor | AR-1 | AR-2 | AR-3 | AR-4
2004: President | Senate | AR-2

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoECotton (R)Pryor (D)Spread
Final Results------56.539.5Cotton +17.0
RCP Average10/16 - 11/1----48.241.2Cotton +7.0
PPP (D)*10/30 - 11/11092 LV3.04941Cotton +8
Rasmussen Reports10/27 - 10/29967 LV3.05144Cotton +7
The Arkansas Poll10/21 - 10/27568 LV4.14936Cotton +13
NBC News/Marist*10/19 - 10/23621 LV3.94543Cotton +2
CBS News/NYT/YouGov10/16 - 10/231567 LV4.04742Cotton +5

All Arkansas Senate - Cotton vs. Pryor Polling Data

RCP Poll Average
Arkansas Senate - Cotton vs. Pryor
48.2Cotton (R)+7.0
41.2Pryor (D)
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Race Analysis

11/3/14 -- Tom Cotton seems to be breaking open a real lead here. He enters Election Day as the favorite.

10/7/14 -- Subsequent polling has not borne out the findings of the Suffolk poll. Mark Pryor enters the home stretch clearly behind Rep. Tom Cotton.

9/29/14 -- The recent Suffolk poll seems like an outlier, although we can’t be completely certain until we get more polling. Even that poll showed Pryor receiving only 45 percent of the vote. The incumbent is in deep trouble.

9/7/14 -- Two months before the election, Pryor still seems to be stuck at 43 percent. There's still plenty of room for him to win this race, but he remains the most vulnerable incumbent.

----------Race Preview----------

When David Pryor won his Senate seat in 1978, Arkansas was still very much a one-party state. Republicans won only six seats that year in the entire 135-member state legislature, although this tied a record set in 1910. Only one Republican had won the governorship since the end of Reconstruction, and only one other Republican had even eclipsed the 40 percent mark. Likewise, only one Republican had bested 40 percent a Senate race since the beginning of direct election of senators in the 1910s.

Defense Impacts: An incumbent defense appropriator faces an Iraq War veteran and rising star in a race the GOP needs to win the Senate.

More on this race at RealClearDefense

Pryor’s son, Mark, won his Senate seat in 2002 in a somewhat different reality. Republicans had won gubernatorial elections in 1980 and 1998, and had narrowly won a Senate election in 1996. But the state was still politically marginal in presidential elections, and was still strongly Democratic in state elections. Mark Pryor defeated Republican Tim Hutchinson in a good Republican year, and found himself unopposed in 2008.

But things have changed dramatically in Arkansas politics in the years since then. Pryor’s colleague, Blanche Lambert Lincoln, lost her 2010 re-election bid by over 20 points, while Republicans captured the General Assembly two years later. A body that had 97 Democrats and 30 Republicans when Pryor was elected now stands at 73 Republicans and 61 Democrats.

Pryor finds himself challenged by freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, one of the NRSC’s strongest recruits. Cotton brings a sterling resume – he’s a former Army captain and Harvard Law School graduate – as well as the benefit of having represented southern Arkansas in Congress, which is a swing area of the state where Democrats must over-perform in order to win. A recent spate of polling has shown Pryor ahead. He’s still at only 44 percent in the RCP Average, and the recent PPP poll shows the president’s job approval an awful 13 percent among undecided voters, suggesting that Pryor will have a tough time converting them to his cause. Still, his campaign is showing some signs of life that weren’t really there a month ago.

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoECotton (R)Pryor (D)Spread
Final Results------56.539.5Cotton +17.0
RCP Average10/16 - 11/1----48.241.2Cotton +7.0
PPP (D)*10/30 - 11/11092 LV3.04941Cotton +8
Rasmussen Reports10/27 - 10/29967 LV3.05144Cotton +7
The Arkansas Poll10/21 - 10/27568 LV4.14936Cotton +13
NBC News/Marist*10/19 - 10/23621 LV3.94543Cotton +2
CBS News/NYT/YouGov10/16 - 10/231567 LV4.04742Cotton +5
Talk Business Poll*10/15 - 10/162075 LV2.24941Cotton +8
Rasmussen Reports10/13 - 10/15940 LV3.04744Cotton +3
FOX News*10/4 - 10/7707 LV3.54639Cotton +7
CBS News/NYT/YouGov9/20 - 10/11991 LV2.04541Cotton +4
Rasmussen Reports9/24 - 9/25750 LV4.04740Cotton +7
USA Today/Suffolk*9/20 - 9/23500 LV4.44345Pryor +2
PPP (D)9/18 - 9/211453 LV2.64539Cotton +6
NBC News/Marist*9/2 - 9/4639 LV3.94540Cotton +5
CNN/Opinion Research8/28 - 9/2523 LV4.54947Cotton +2
CBS News/NYT/YouGov8/18 - 9/21572 LV3.04339Cotton +4
Rasmussen Reports8/25 - 8/26750 LV4.04344Pryor +1
PPP (D)8/1 - 8/31066 RV3.04341Cotton +2
Talk Business Poll*7/22 - 7/251780 LV2.34442Cotton +2
CBS News/NYT/YouGov7/5 - 7/24LV2.95046Cotton +4
Impact Management Group (R)6/29 - 6/291290 RV2.74743Cotton +4
Magellan Strategies (R)6/4 - 6/5755 LV3.64945Cotton +4
Rasmussen Reports5/27 - 5/28750 LV4.04743Cotton +4
NBC News/Marist4/30 - 5/4876 RV3.34051Pryor +11
PPP (D)4/25 - 4/27840 RV3.44243Pryor +1
Magellan Strategies (R)4/14 - 4/15857 LV3.44643Cotton +3
NY Times/Kaiser4/8 - 4/15857 RV4.03646Pryor +10
Opinion Research Associates4/1 - 4/8400 RV5.03848Pryor +10
Talk Business Poll*4/3 - 4/41068 LV3.04346Pryor +3
CEA/Hickman Analytics (D)2/17 - 2/20400 LV4.94646Tie
Impact Management Group (R)2/10 - 2/101202 RV2.84642Cotton +4
Rasmussen Reports2/4 - 2/5500 LV4.54540Cotton +5
Impact Management Group (R)10/24 - 10/24911 RV3.24241Cotton +1
The Arkansas Poll10/10 - 10/17LV--3736Cotton +1
Talk Business Poll10/8 - 10/8603 LV4.04142Pryor +1
WFB/The Polling Company (R)8/6 - 8/7600 RV4.04345Pryor +2
Harper (R)8/4 - 8/5587 LV4.04341Cotton +2