New Arkansas poll: Cotton edging Pryor at launch time

posted at 12:41 pm on August 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I noted that a poll conducted by public-employee union AFSCME had incumbent Senator Mark Pryor ahead of his presumed competition, freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, by eight points — but with only 43% support.  That’s bad news for an incumbent, and another poll published today by Conservative Intel has even worse news for Democrats hoping to defend the seat.  As Cotton prepares to announce his candidacy later today, CI shows him narrowly edging Pryor 43/41:

A new Conservative Intel Poll of 587 likely Arkansas voters finds that even though 40 percent of Arkansas voters don’t know enough about the freshman congressman to form an opinion about him, he still leads incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, D, by a narrow two-point margin — 43 percent to 41 percent.

The result is within the poll’s four-point margin of error, and so the two are technically in a statistical tie. But it’s a bad sign for Pryor, a two-term incumbent in the U.S. Senate, that he is polling so poorly against a relatively unknown opponent — 40 percent of Arkansans don’t know enough about Cotton to form an opinion.

The low numbers for Pryor are roughly consistent with a poll released earlier this week by the public employees’ union AFSCME, which showed the incumbent with similarly low levels of support (43 percent).

The poll from CI has a sample that is D+7, which is a wider split than the D+4 in Arkansas’ 2008 exit polling, so at least the survey sample doesn’t appear to be notably skewed toward the GOP.  It does feature a lower percentage of young voters than 2008 (11% compared to 17% when Pryor won his last election), and that could have some impact on these numbers, especially since older voters are significantly more conservative in Arkansas.  Without Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, though, the youth vote probably won’t be as energized.  At any rate, the sample seems fair enough, while of course remaining just a snapshot of the electorate at the moment.

The dead heat numbers of the top line are probably the best news for Pryor in this poll.  He’s underwater on job approval with a very anemic 32/42, although 26% can’t decide.  While Cotton has a +8 on favorability, 34/26 with 40% unsure, Pryor has a -2 at 38/40 with 22% undecided.  Pryor might still have some upside left in Arkansas, but Cotton has more and starts off in better position.

One way Pryor might improve his standing would be to distance himself from Barack Obama, who has a laughable 28/61 approval rating in this poll — even though 37% of respondents are Democrats. Instead, Pryor is arguing that Cotton’s opposition to Obama should be disqualifying, as it would “waste” a precious Senate seat:

Pryor recently launched his first attacks on Cotton, a first term Congressman from Dardanelle who represents the southwest corner of Arkansas. “I hope Arkansas doesn’t want to waste one of their two Senate seats,” Pryor told the Associated Press the other day. “You only get two, and I hope Arkansas doesn’t waste one of its Senate seats just to send someone to Washington to oppose a president for two years.”

At 28/61, I’d guess that Arkansans see that as a feature rather than a bug.  And since Pryor will have to explain his support of ObamaCare and the stimulus package, both of which are deeply unpopular among his constituents, the bigger question he’ll need to answer is why Arkansas voters should waste one of its Senate seats on someone who won’t oppose Obama.  Pryor is practically launching Cotton’s candidacy for him.


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Cotton pickin’ cool!

Out with Prior and Landrieu, at all costs!!!

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Pryor…but Out, Out, Out!!!

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

The poll from CI has a sample that is D+7, which is a wider split than the D+4 in Arkansas’ 2008 exit polling, so at least the survey sample doesn’t appear to be notably skewed toward the GOP.

Didn’t we learn a lesson about polling splits in 2012?

steebo77 on August 6, 2013 at 12:47 PM

We need this seat. Slow and steady should win it.

My guess is that Cotton will spend the next 15 months taking questions from the media about abortion and same-sex marriage. And that’s it.

BuckeyeSam on August 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Pryor doubling down on his support for Zero? Not smart. Cotton FTW!

KCB on August 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The race card is all the Ds got for 2014.

You have no idea what the TEA party will do to you, IRS and other goons of the land. You poked the wrong hive.

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 12:49 PM

A friend of mine there who owns a leading political consulting firm tells me that Pryor is toast unless Cotton completely implodes. Says that the D establishment there is secretly on a “death” watch for Pryor, and he’s not getting much life support from them at all.

TXUS on August 6, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Defcons for Democ-rats

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 12:51 PM

My guess is that Cotton will spend the next 15 months taking questions from the media about abortion and same-sex marriage. And that’s it.

BuckeyeSam on August 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Only if he lets them get away with it.

One of my biggest complaints about the Romney campaign was that they didn’t go out after the filthy rat-eared coward. Maybe they were afraid that they’d be called racist for pointing out that the President is incompetent. But, when Pelosi dragged out a slut to “testify” about the impact on her sex life without Georgetown paying for her birth control…… Romney should have taken the opportunity to accuse Obama of attacking freedom of religion. When Obama launched Julia, Romney should have talked about wanting to make people less dependent on government.

If Cotton keeps getting the abortion question (which he better already have an answer for), then he should take the media for task, point out all the ways Pryor has failed the state and demand the focus be on jobs or something.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I’ve read that Cotton if Karl Rove’s guy.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

A friend of mine there who owns a leading political consulting firm tells me that Pryor is toast unless Cotton completely implodes.

While I hope this is true, recent history has shown a pattern of media inspired R implosions.

AndrewsDad on August 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

I’ve read that Cotton if Karl Rove’s guy.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

If it means getting the Senate back, I don’t care if he’s Hitler’s guy. /

Seriously though, I’d be heartbroken if he is getting “help” from Mike Huckabee- faux conservative and the genius that told Akin to stick out the campaign after talking about the rape gag reflex.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2013 at 1:00 PM

A Republican named “cotton”? Libfrees heads gonna explode!

Valkyriepundit on August 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

A Republican named “cotton”? Libfrees heads gonna explode!

Valkyriepundit on August 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

An ARKANSAS Republican at that.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2013 at 1:11 PM

I’ve read that Cotton if Karl Rove’s guy.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

He is. If the Democrats are smart, they’ll tar him as a neocon elitist who went to Harvard Law and worked at McKinsey & Co. before coming home to Arkansas to run for office.

Punchenko on August 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I’ve read that Cotton if Karl Rove’s guy.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Pryor is obmaa’s guy and obama’care’s harlot. So is Landrieu.

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Punchenko on August 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Let’s re-elect Pryor then.

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Didn’t we learn a lesson about polling splits in 2012?

steebo77 on August 6, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Yeah, this. After 2012, I swore off slicing and dicing polls trying to figure out what they “really” mean. It’s too early right now, but come election time, I’ll just be looking at the RCP average of these races and nothing else.

LukeinNE on August 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Problem is, stupidly losing the 2012 senate seats in Missouri, N Dakota and Indiana made the hurdle +6 seats, which is a tall order in any cycle.

Big difference b/w winning a net of +3 vs +6 seats, even in the best of cycles.

matthew8787 on August 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

If the Democrats are smart, they’ll tar him as a neocon elitist who went to Harvard Law and worked at McKinsey & Co. before coming home to Arkansas to run for office.

Punchenko on August 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I could name somebody who is a limo liberal who went to Harvard Law, returned to Chicago, and started running for office.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Let’s re-elect Pryor then.

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Cotton says that he supports NSA gestapo tactics being used against the American people because you can’t find a needle in a haystack unless you have a haystack. If, unlike Cotton, Pryor opposes NSA violations of our civil rights, then perhaps I would support Pryor over Cotton. (Although I suspect Pryor is just as bad, so probably not.)

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

It does feature a lower percentage of young voters than 2008 (11% compared to 17% when Pryor won his last election), and that could have some impact on these numbers, especially since older voters are significantly more conservative in Arkansas.

Young voters were strong in 2008 and 2012 but historically don’t show up in midterms. I suppose 2014 could turn out to be an exception. Would be interesting to see the percentage of young voters in 2006 and 2010 for comparison.

Missy on August 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Even if Cotton and Pryor both support NSA gestapo tactics violating our civil rights, I would rather have all the fascists in the other party, not my own, so would probably rather Pryor win.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Problem is, stupidly losing the 2012 senate seats in Missouri, N Dakota and Indiana made the hurdle +6 seats, which is a tall order in any cycle.

Big difference b/w winning a net of +3 vs +6 seats, even in the best of cycles.

matthew8787 on August 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Ugh, don’t remind us. The GOP should be shooting for a filibuster-proof majority this cycle, but instead we self-destructed in Delaware, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and probably a couple of other places I’m forgetting that the GOP had no business losing the last couple cycles.

LukeinNE on August 6, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Woo pig sooie.

TitularHead on August 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

I hope Republican voters in Arkansas at generally more level headed than the idiots here.

Pryor and Blanche Lincoln both voted for Obama Care when the voters at home were screaming “No!”
They don’t care about Karl Rove. And have taken care of Blanche already.

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

He is. If the Democrats are smart, they’ll tar him as a neocon elitist who went to Harvard Law and worked at McKinsey & Co. before coming home to Arkansas to run for office.

Punchenko on August 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM

If I remember correctly Billy Jeff was a homeboy who went off and came back with a Yankee wife. Worked out pretty well for him.

hip shot on August 6, 2013 at 1:53 PM

I’ve read that Cotton if Karl Rove’s guy.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

MMMM, choices choices.

Big gov loving republican that supports Bush style Progressive “conservatism” or….

Bigger gov loving Democrat that supports Obama style Progressivism.

I’d say vote the real thing……if you want to be on the teat of the Federal Sow…then vote for the biggest teat you can find.

PRYOR!!!

next…………

PappyD61 on August 6, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Let me see if I have this straight: you’re saying I’m an “idiot” because instead of having two parties controlled by neofascist supporters of the Stasi police state, I would rather have them all rolled up into one party, and then have the other party represent those of us who support freedom and liberty?

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 2:15 PM

It would not bole me over if Arkansans pick Cotton despite Pryor saying “WE VILL” defeat him because this Cotton boil is rotten.

The prior movement of the Cotton South has been leaning GOP.

KW64 on August 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I live here in AR and am positive that Cotton will cruise to an easy victory. Pryor has the dead weight of Obamacare wrapped around his neck and he won’t be able to escape it.

Like all conservatives we hate Obamacare and we will take out our hate on Pryor who voted for it against our will.

I’ve been calling his office tormenting his staff ever since we took down Lincoln. I love to remind them that we’ll take dwn their boss fr the same reasons and they will join him in the unemployment line. Stupid Leftists.

Charlemagne on August 6, 2013 at 2:34 PM

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 2:15 PM
Let me see if I have this straight: you’re saying I’m an “idiot” because instead of having two parties controlled by neofascist supporters of the Stasi police state……

Yeah, you pretty much got it straight.

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 2:46 PM

When Cotton begins to pull away, look for a “Tea Party” candidate. That it will take Michelle Malkin all of ten seconds to prove voted Democrat every election and is a member of the bar.

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

When Cotton begins to pull away, look for a “Tea Party” candidate. That it will take Michelle Malkin all of ten seconds to prove voted Democrat every election and is a member of the bar.

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Is it true that every single one of Karl Rove’s ’12 candidates lost their elections?

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Is it true that every single one of Karl Rove’s ’12 candidates lost their elections?

I’m not sure. Was Karl a fan of the “rape is just The Lord’s way of chastising bad girls” twins?

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Aw geez, Sinking Stone is back and spouting his idiocy. All we need now is a plug for Gary Johnson (who?). And I see he is insanely suggesting that having a lib-controled Sentae is better tahn a Senate poplulated by Rinos. At least with a marginally “R” Senate teh voices of real conservatives like Ron Johnson will at least have a chance of being heard and taken seriously. But no, TruCons will apprently continue to reject candidates that only agree with them 99% of the time: (WHAT!? Cotton prefers a wheel-gun and I prefer an auto?! Cotton MUST be a RINO! Sinking Stone: Better a gun-grabbing lib than a suspect RINO!”).

brushman on August 6, 2013 at 3:41 PM

(WHAT!? Cotton prefers a wheel-gun and I prefer an auto?! Cotton MUST be a RINO! Sinking Stone: Better a gun-grabbing lib than a suspect RINO!”).

brushman on August 6, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Your trivialization of the runaway police-state and flagrant dismissal of my concerns about it, and the concerns of the majority of Americans, according to polls, is why I hope your candidate, Cotton, loses.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 3:28 PM

If it makes you feel any better I hope that Pryor loses, too. I think between Cotton and Pryor the race is wide open for a good liberty loving tea party candidate to defeat both of them.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:09 PM

What Arkansas really needs is a Senator in the mold of Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM

…not Karl Rove!

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Sorry, Sinking Stone, you trivialized yourself when you openly stated that it would be better to re-elect Obama over Romney. Your absurd contention that if only the rest of the country would be as smart as you and vote for Gary Johnson (who?) then Johnson could win proved you are not to be taken seriously.

Cotton just announced his candidacy and, contrary to your assertion, he is not “my” candidate. I live in Illinois, and while Little Dick Durbin is up for re-election I am not insane enough to think he might actually lose. I will carefully consider the candidates I support as I was one of those of us who were taken in by Scott Brown, and I won’t be fooled again. I am willing to wait and find out more about him, unlike you, who have already pronounced judgment on him. I know it’s pointless to ask you to think, but having even a marginally Republican Senate is the only way of slowing Obama’s agenda.

brushman on August 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM

brushman on August 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Unlike you I was wise enough to know from the very beginning that Scott Brown was precisely what he turned out to be. I already have people like Scott Brown, Tom Cotton and Karl Rove figured out. Hopefully someday soon your judgement will prove as accurate as mine.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Pryor and Landrieu helped to put obama’care’ over the top, against the people they’re supposed to represent.

On the NSA, all who support them, blindly, may your heads be cut off. I don’t care which party you’re in.

Give up freedom for security and you will have neither.

The terrorists have won already.

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 4:43 PM

People of Arkansas, please nominate and vote for people more like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and less like Karl Rove and John McCain.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM

What Arkansas really needs is a Senator in the mold of Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Is one in the mix?

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Part of my support of Brown was the hope that he could win The Swimmer’s old seat out from under the nose of the libs. And in that I was rewarded. And while I never expected him to be a Goldwater conservative, he still vowed to vote against O’care while the lib running against him certainly would vote for it. While I would no longer

Regardless of the shortcomings of each Republican running, it is still a numbers game (whether you want to admit it or not). We have to get 51 seats in the Senate to oust Harry Reid and try to restore some sanity to the process.

If you’re going to continue to play your holier-than-thou games I’ll continue my ridicule.

brushman on August 6, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Is one in the mix?

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

That’s what I’m saying; there needs to be one in the mix. People of Arkansas, make it so, and if there isn’t one then don’t waste your vote on anybody who supports turning America into a technological totalitarian police state. Don’t vote for those who would enslave you and your progeny.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Representative Tom Cotton says that the president’s health-care delay makes a deal on immigration less likely — if the president can simply decline to enforce the provisions of a law he fought for, why trust him to enforce provisions of a law he is accepting only as a compromise? Representative Cotton must also of course have in mind the fact that after Congress had unequivocally rejected another piece of immigration reform, the so-called DREAM Act, that the president had supported, he simply instituted it unilaterally, as though he had the authority to declare an amnesty himself. He then did away with criminal-background checks for those to be amnestied, also on his own authority. Strangely, the order to halt background checks came down on November 9, 2012, the same day that John Boehner said Republicans would seek a compromise on immigration reform.

Schadenfreude on August 6, 2013 at 5:35 PM

People of Arkansas, please nominate and vote for people more like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and less like Karl Rove and John McCain.
FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Name one vote or stance or position Cotton has taken that you oppose, and be specific. And you can’t use “Karl Rove” in your answer, that would distinguish Rep. Cotton from a “Tea Party” candidate.
As much as you’ve slimed him, I’m sure you have a list.

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Name one vote or stance or position Cotton has taken that you oppose, and be specific.

Marcus on August 6, 2013 at 5:36 PM

I already have, early in this thread. Tom Cotton voted against Justin Amash’s bill limiting the NSA from violating our civil rights, saying that you can’t find a needle in a haystack unless you have a haystack, and thus he supports the continued expansion of the Stasi police state.

He is not on the side of freedom and liberty but against it.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 5:42 PM

He is not on the side of freedom and liberty but against it.

…Otherwise Karl Rove and his elitist cronies wouldn’t be supporting him, either. They are also enemies of freedom and liberty.

FloatingRock on August 6, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Pryor recently launched his first attacks on Cotton, a first term Congressman from Dardanelle who represents the southwest corner of Arkansas. “I hope Arkansas doesn’t want to waste one of their two Senate seats,” Pryor told the Associated Press the other day. “You only get two, and I hope Arkansas doesn’t waste one of its Senate seats just to send someone to Washington to oppose a president for two years.”

THIS is the 4th Congressional District represented by Tom Cotton. Slightly larger than just the SW corner of the State.

Mark, son of David, Pryor will have BillyJeff campaigning for him. AND if Hillary is the marxist nominee, Pryor could ride her coattails in Arkansas to another term…

Obamacare, CPSIA, et al — Here’s to hoping Mark suffers the same fate as Blanche Lincoln did in 2012…

Gohawgs on August 7, 2013 at 2:16 AM