Dr. Jay Barth and Clint Reed offered their thoughts on the latest round of Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College polling that included insights on key demographics in the Arkansas electorate. The two men appeared as part of a political roundtable on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, which airs on Sundays at 9 a.m. on KATV, Channel 7 and Monday nights at 6:06 p.m. on KUAR-FM 89.1.
Earlier this week, polling showed that Cotton held a 49-40.5% lead over Pryor.
Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College and a partner in the polling effort, said the gender gap that Democrats need for an advantage in the top-of-the-ticket races favors Republicans.
“The group of women that seem to be breaking for Cotton most decidedly… are those women 30-44, and I think those are the women most likely to be moms with smaller kids. And I do think there is something going on with a ‘security mom’ issue – Ebola, ISIS,” Barth said.
In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Senate hopeful Cong. Tom Cotton held a 54-37% advantage with male voters over incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor. Cotton also held a slight advantage with female voters, 46-43%.
“We saw in 2004 that President Bush did particularly well with moms in the South that were very responsive to security issues. I think that may be what’s happened the last few weeks, if I had a gut [guess].” – Barth noted.
Reed, GOP strategist with Impact Management Group, highlighted the Independent voter support for Cotton, which stood at 59-28% in the October survey.
“If you look at those Independent numbers and you combine those with Republicans – Tom Cotton’s probably getting 90-95% of Republicans at a two-to-one, three-to-one advantage among Republicans – that coalition becomes very difficult for a Democrat to compete against. The gender gap has to exist for Mark Pryor and Mike Ross. It looks like to me it may be somewhat existent, but I don’t think it’s enough,” Reed said.
He also said he’s skeptical of the Democratic voter turnout model, which is aiming to draw huge numbers of new and dormant Democratic voters to the polls.
“What I’m seeing is that Democrats are cannibalizing their voters that could be potentially Election Day voters by having them vote early,” Reed said.
Barth thinks Democrats will see a boost in turnout with their outreach efforts.
“The polls are one thing. I do think there are some other indicators, in terms of some early vote numbers, some very clear turnout methods that have not been traditionally been used in the state, and some new registrant numbers that do suggest that things are probably closer in the top-tier races,” Barth said.
Watch their full political roundtable exchange, which also included thoughts on the Governor’s race and Congressional Districts 2 and 4, in the video below.