A new flurry of polling shows Republicans with a solid victory in one Congressional District, advantages in two other districts, and a toss-up for the remaining district in Central Arkansas.
The latest round of Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College polling centered on four Congressional District level surveys that provide a first glimpse at this fall's congressional match-ups.
"Rather than obsess on the particular numbers in these head-to-head races at this juncture of the election cycle, I'd suggest readers view the big takeaways and some cross tab data analysis to interpret these results," said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief.
"With little advertising in these match-ups so far and with the suffocation of messaging from the Senate and Governor races, the Congressional campaigns have taken a back-seat this cycle. I expect campaign spending in the final 90+ days to impact the current state of these races," Brock said.
The four polls that construct these Congressional District results were conducted July 22-25 in all four Congressional districts. The surveys used a combination of IVR technology and live caller connections. The margins of error fluctuate for each district, but range from +/-4.5% to +/-4.9%.
The Congressional head-to-head questions were the first question asked in our survey after determining voter participation in the November general election from a list of likely Arkansas voters in each Congressional District. Only voters who answered in the affirmative for participation were allowed to complete the poll.
Congressional District 1
Among 450 respondents, with 20% being cell phone users, the First District survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.6%.
Q. In the race for Congress in your congressional district, the candidates are Republican Congressman Rick Crawford, Democrat Mayor Jackie McPherson, and Libertarian Brian Scott Willhite. If the election for U.S. House were today, which candidate would you support?
47.5% Republican Congressman Rick Crawford
33% Democrat Mayor Jackie McPherson
3% Libertarian Brian Scott Willhite
Takeaways: As an incumbent, Crawford remains poised to capture enough of the undecided votes to win his re-election campaign. But as our polling has suggested over the past two years, there has consistently been a sizable number of voters who remain unfamiliar or undecided with him. The 16.5% undecided suggests Crawford is still not a household name in the district.
Congressional District 2
Among 483 respondents, with 19.5% being cell phone users, the Second District survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.
Q. In the race for Congress in your congressional district, the candidates are Democrat Patrick Henry Hays, Republican French Hill, and Libertarian Debbie Standiford. If the election for U.S. House were today, which candidate would you support?
43% Democrat Patrick Henry Hays
44% Republican French Hill
3% Libertarian Debbie Standiford
Takeaways: The Second Congressional District, which has elected Democrat Vic Snyder and Republican Tim Griffin in recent years, appears to be a toss-up at this point in the campaign. Throw any number of variables in this race -- age, gender, ethnicity, geography, the margin of error -- any way you slice and dice it, this race is competitive.
Congressional District 3
Among 408 respondents, with 17% being cell phone users, the Third District survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
Q. In the race for Congress in your congressional district, the candidates are Libertarian Grant Brand and Republican Congressman Steve Womack. If the election for U.S. House were today, which candidate would you support?
20% Libertarian Grant Brand
57% Republican Congressman Steve Womack
Takeaways: The Third District remains solidly Republican and without a Democratic challenger, Cong. Steve Womack is on cruise control to re-election. The larger undecided block may reflect dissatisfaction with no Democratic choice in the race.
Congressional District 4
Among 439 respondents, with 15% being cell phone users, the Fourth District survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.7%.
Q. In the race for Congress in your congressional district, the candidates are Republican Representative Bruce Westerman, Democrat James Lee Witt, and Libertarian Ken Hamilton. If the election for U.S. House were today, which candidate would you support?
48% Republican Representative Bruce Westerman
34% Democrat James Lee Witt
3% Libertarian Ken Hamilton
Takeaways: There appears to be a Republican advantage in this race, which has really yet to heat up. Westerman won his GOP primary, but it was his opponent who did the major advertising. Neither Westerman nor Witt have spent major money on paid media for the general. With four TV media markets in the Fourth, spending by the candidates or third party groups could cement or alter these results quickly, as we saw in the GOP primary.