Another poll — this one by a political group led by former Republican Party officials — shows Asa Hutchinson continues to hold an essentially meaningless lead, 40-37 over Democrat Mike Ross. In other words, the base is what it is and those who claim they are undecided will decide the election.

Republicans are optimistic because most polling shows a Republican lean to independent voters. But Blue Dog Ross brings a different resume to the table than some Democrats. Republicans are already busily at work depicting him as a liberal Obamaite, of course. The big money — heavily favoring Ross — indicates the business establishment doesn’t view him that way, just yet anyway.

This poll smells about right in advance of any media campaigning with three-time statewide loser Asa Hutchinson’s name giving him a small edge over a regional candidate. The numbers are too small to be definitive, but the poll has Ross ahead in the 2nd and 4th, the latter of which he once represented. Of course he loses the 3rd. He trails badly in the 1st. That’s the place money and a populist pitch could make a difference with voters who once went solidly Democratic.

It’s still a long way until 2014.