The Arkansas Democratic Party today released a summary of polling done for the party by Opinion Research Associates of Little Rock. It shows Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor with a lead, but within the margin of error, over challenger Tom Cotton and shows Democrat Mike Ross in a dead heat with Republican Asa Hutchinson in the governor’s race.
The Pryor-Cotton race has been essentially a dead heat in most polling, with some narrow edges for Cotton in recent samples. Most polling has shown Hutchinson with a lead over Ross.
Republicans will scoff at these results, naturally. Opinion Research, operated by Ernie and Zoe Oakleaf, is an independent company with many clients, not only in politics, that has had some notable polling successes over the decades of work in Arkansas in some hotly contested races. It had a broader lead for Pryor in an earlier sampling. It was knocked two years ago for a small, high error-margin poll done for Herb Rule’s congressional campaign that indicated some weakness on the part of Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin. Griffin easily defeated Rule’s lightly funded campaign, which also was damaged by his DWI arrest. Griffin’s numbers remained unremarkable and are reflected in the narrowness of the current race between Republican French Hill and Democrat Pat Hays for the seat he is vacating.
The Democratic Party did not release the full polling document, only the summary I’ve reproduced above. A spokesman said it was based on a sample that was 12 percent black among the 414 respondents, close to the participation rate in Arkansas elections. The poll did include, as some polls have not, the third party candidates.
Clips and save for November cheering or jeering. Margin of error 4.9 percent. The Hill notes that the surveying extended over a week and sampled registered voters, as opposed to likely voters, a sampling believed to skew Democratic.