A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of 1,780 likely Arkansas voters shows Republican Congressman Tom Cotton with a 44-42% lead over two-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.
The poll, which was conducted July 22-25 across all four Congressional districts, has a margin of error of +/-2.3%.
Q. In the race for U.S. Senate, the candidates are Green Party Candidate Mark Swaney, Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, Libertarian Nathan LaFrance, and Republican Congressman Tom Cotton. If the election for U.S. Senate were today, which candidate would you support?
4% Green candidate Mark Swaney
42% Democratic Senator Mark Pryor
3% Libertarian Nathan LaFrance
44% Republican Congressman Tom Cotton
"Our latest poll indicates this race is still extremely competitive," said Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock. "With the daily pounding each campaign is administering to the other, with the barrage of ads flooding the airwaves from both sides, Cotton and Pryor seem to be drafting off one another. Factor in the margin of error, and you still have a dead heat."
Two previous Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College polls showed the race within the margin of error but with Pryor in the lead.
In October 2013, shortly after Cotton entered the race, Pryor held a 42-41% lead. In April 2014, Pryor had a 45.5-42.5% lead. The Libertarian and Green party candidates each settled at 2% in the April survey.
In the latest poll, three critical demographics provide insight on how the high-profile Senate campaign is unfolding.
First, Cotton is winning handily among Independent voters. Cotton leads Pryor by a 50-33% margin. But Pryor has a clear advantage with female and African-American voters, keys to victory that his campaign has emphasized.
Pryor leads Cotton among female voters by a 45-40% margin and he leads Cotton 77%-16% among African-Americans. Another key demographic are voters 65 and older. Both campaigns are vying for this age group known for consistent turnout, but also a segment of the population that has floated in its loyalty between Democratic and Republican candidates. Cotton leads Pryor 46-42% in the 65+ voter age group.
Talk Business & Politics will release another round of polling in the Arkansas Governor's race on Wednesday afternoon. Survey results from the four Congressional races will be revealed on Thursday.