First starters, let’s begin with the Arkansas Poll, which shows the Republican in the race maintaining a whopping 13 point advantage over the incumbent, 49 percent to 36 percent:
From the internals:
(1) Among “very likely voters,” the D/R/I sample breakdown is 31/33/33. That's to say, the sample isn't overly skewed in favor of Republicans. And yet Sen. Pryor and President Obama’s approval/disapproval ratings are almost comically bad, sitting at 33/54 and 27/68, respectively.
(2) Thirty-four percent of respondents said “the economy” is the most important issue facing Arkansans. The second and third issues, respectively, were “politicians/politics” (21 percent) and "healthcare" (16 percent).
(3) Twenty-five percent of respondents say they are “worse” off financially than they were one year ago today. However, 22 percent said they were “better” off, and 52 percent said “about the same.”
In other words, the vast majority of respondents are doing okay, but they really aren't all that impressed with Sen. Pryor and President Obama. I would point out, however, that the sample size was rather small. Only 568 “very likely voters” participated in the survey. By contrast, Rasmussen Reports' newest poll interviewed some 967 Likely Voters.
That’s a much bigger (and better) sample, and thus perhaps one reason why their findings indicate the race is much tighter:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Arkansas Voters shows Cotton with 51% of the vote to Pryor’s 44%. Four percent (4%) like some other candidate in the race, and two percent (2%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Either way you slice it, though, that’s still a seven point differential; it makes you wonder if this poll wasn’t an outlier after all.