Republican Tom Cotton, 45%, and Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor, 43%, are in a competitive contest in the race for U.S. Senate in Arkansas among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Seven percent are undecided, and 8% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they might vote differently.
Looking at the dynamics of the race, while support divides along party lines, Cotton has a narrow lead among independents who are likely to vote. There is also a 26 point gender gap. Cotton has a 15 point advantage among men likely to cast a ballot. Pryor is up 11 over Cotton among women likely to vote.
In the race for Arkansas governor, Republican incumbent Asa Hutchinson receives 47% to 44% for Democrat Mike Ross. Voters align by party. Among independents likely to vote, Hutchinson has a 6 point edge over Ross.
“The good news for the Democrats is that incumbent Mark Pryor remains competitive in a state Mitt Romney carried by 24 points,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, twice the number of Pryor’s backers, compared with Cotton’s supporters, say they might vote differently, and Pryor has higher negatives than Cotton. In fact, Pryor’s rating, unlike Cotton’s, is upside down.”
Poll Points U.S. Senate:
- Cotton, 45%, and Pryor, 43%, are neck and neck in the U.S. Senate contest among likely voters in Arkansas including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Green Party candidate Mark Swaney receives 3%, and Libertarian Nathan LaFrance garners 2%. Seven percent are undecided. In NBC News/Marist’s September survey, Cotton was ahead of Pryor by 5 points among likely voters.
- Both Cotton and Pryor have solid backing from their respective party’s base. Cotton has 43% to 37% for Pryor among independents likely to vote.
- Cotton, 51%, has the advantage over Pryor, 36%, among men who are likely to vote. Pryor, 49%, leads Cotton, 38%, among women.
- 59% of likely voters with a candidate preference including early voters strongly support their choice of candidate for U.S. Senate, compared with 52% in September. Eight percent of likely voters with a candidate preference might vote differently. When it comes to the strength of support each candidate receives from their backers, Pryor previously had the edge over Cotton. However, the proportion of Cotton’s backers who are firmly committed to him has grown from 51% to 61% while those who strongly support Pryor remain unchanged at 58%.
- Cotton’s favorable rating, 46%, is little changed from the 44% he received in September. Pryor’s negatives have gone up to 49% from 42%.
- Among registered voters in Arkansas including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, Pryor has 43% to 42% for Cotton. Swaney has the support of 3%, and 2% back LaFrance. Last month, Cotton and Pryor were tied at 41% among registered voters.
- Job creation and economic growth and Social Security and Medicare, each with 18%, top the list of issues most important to likely voters in deciding for whom to support for Congress. Breaking partisan gridlock in Washington, 16%, the deficit and government spending, 11%, health care, 10%, and military action against ISIS, 8%, follow. Immigration, 3%, and looking out for the interests of women, 3%, are also important but for fewer voters.
Poll Points Governor:
- Turning to the governor’s race in Arkansas, Hutchinson, 47%, and Ross, 44%, are competitive among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Libertarian Frank Gilbert and Green Party candidate Josh Drake each has 2%. Last month, Hutchinson, 48%, was ahead of Ross, 39%, by 9 points.
- Candidate support runs true to party lines. Hutchinson, 45%, has a 6 point edge over Ross, 39%, among independents likely to vote. Hutchinson was ahead of Ross by 14 points among independents last month.
- 62% of likely voters with a candidate preference including those who voted early are firmly committed to their choice of candidate for Arkansas governor. Seven percent of voters with a candidate preference might vote differently. Ross, 64%, and Hutchinson, 61%, both have strong support from their respective backers.
- Ross, 44%, and Hutchinson, 43%, are neck and neck among registered voters in Arkansas including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Three percent are for Drake, and 2% are for Gilbert.
- 51% of likely voters have a favorable view of Hutchinson. Ross’ positive rating, 46%, is also higher than his negative score.
- Only 31% of Arkansans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office, similar to the 29% job approval rating he received in September.