By eight percentage points, to be exact, if this poll is to be taken seriously. Last summer, when Talk Business and Politics, along with Hendrix College, conducted and released their last joint survey, Cotton’s lead was small (44/42). Now, however, he’s on much firmer footing (49/41) and “poised” to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor on Nov. 4th.
“As early voting begins and candidates begin their homestretch run, Cong. Cotton is poised to knock off Sen. Pryor barring any major disasters,” Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock said in a statement. “I do think this race tightens, however, as Democrats are pushing for a massive get-out-the-vote effort among newly registered and dormant voters. How big that impact will be is anyone’s guess. It’s complicated and nearly impossible to accurately poll that universe."
Nevertheless, Cotton is currently winning male voters (55/37) and female voters (although, according to the pollsters, his lead among the latter demographic “is small”), independents (59/28), and seniors (51/42). For these reasons, he’s opened up an enormous lead.
But can Pryor close it?
“Moving into early voting, our survey says advantage Cotton,” Dr. Jay Barth argued in his analysis after reviewing the findings. “For Pryor to close the gap, a monstrous and effectively targeted turnout operation and the entrance of large numbers of new registrants into the fold are both essential.”
Boosting turnout, in other words, could save him -- or at least make the race more competitive. But as things currently stand, he's in trouble.