Sen. Mark Pryor Leads in Arkansas Senate Race over Rep. Tom Cotton

By Lindsay Clein

Published 04/23 2014 09:10PM

Updated 04/23 2014 10:14PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ar. --  One of the most highly-contested senate races in the country features two lawmakers from Arkansas.

In a poll released Wednesday, Democratic Senator Mark Pryor has a clear lead over Republican Rep. Tom Cotton. 

After weeks of this senate race being neck and neck, Pryor now leads Cotton by ten percentage points.

A New York Times and The Kaiser Family Foundation Survey shows the ten point margin, 46% to 36% among registered Arkansas voters.

"I think we still are going to see a very close race until the end no matter what," says Hendrix College Political Science Professor Dr. Jay Barth.

The ten percentage point lead for Democratic Senator Mark Pryor is the largest so far in his re-election bid against Congressman Tom Cotton.

"I think he has basically withstood the dollars and weeks of attack ads," says Dr. Barth.  "Primarily, those attack ads have focused on his support for Obamacare.  His campaign has obviously pointed out some pretty unfavorable or unpopular elements of Tom Cotton's voting records, and I think that may also be aiding him."

The polling, conducted by the New York Times and The Kaiser Family Foundation between April 8 and April 15, finds the two-term incumbent with a 46% to 36% lead over Cotton.  That's among 857 registered voters surveyed.

"I think it's important to note that even these polls, with a ten point lead, this is a snapshot in time-- they are still not far from being outside the margin of error and Senator Pryor is still well away from the magic 50 percent mark."

A democratic poll recently showed Pryor with a three point margin at 45% to 48%.  A Talk Business Arkansas and Hendrix College Survey showed 42.5% to 45.5%.  And now this-- a ten percent lead for Pryor.

"This will stay very close and I think both parties will be engaged," says Dr. Barth.  "And the outside groups spending most of the money so far will also stay very engaged."

Dr. Barth says Arkansas voters have a history of focusing on candidates more than political party.

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