Senator Mark Pryor has tried to tar his likely opponent in next fall’s Senate election, Tom Cotton, as part of an intransigent group of Republican party that shut the federal government down and nearly forced the nation into default. Meanwhile, Arkansas voters disapprove of Senator Pryor more strongly than they ever did Democrat Blanche Lincoln, whom they voted out of the world’s greatest deliberative body in 2010.
Cotton has avoided taking a strong stand on the issue, but regardless, the strategy doesn’t look like it will work for Pryor anyway: 39 percent of Arkansas likely voters, according to a new poll, blame President Obama and the Democrats for the budget crisis, while just 27 percent blamed the congressional GOP (which confirms an earlier survey from a GOP firm finding the same thing). In the poll, conducted by the University of Arkansas, Pryor’s approval ratings also remain poor, with just 34 percent of voters approving and 44 percent disapproving; Senator Blanche Lincoln, who lost reelection in 2010, never dropped below 43 percent approval.
As Eliana noted below, the newest poll, from Cotton’s campaign, has him leading Pryor by four points, 45–41, and Senator Pryor just today endorsed some kind of delay of the individual mandate in President Obama’s health-care law. A senior Democrat source told Dana Bash of CNN that, in fact, every Democratic senator up for reelection in 2014 can be expected to extend the enrollment period, and Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Joe Manchin are working on legislation to that effect.