The Corner

Cotton Already Holds Slight Lead Over Pryor

Though he’s only served in Congress for about eight months and just officially announced his candidacy, Arkansans may already be leaning toward supporting Republican Tom Cotton over incumbent Democratic senator Mark Pryor in next year’s election.

According to a Harper Polling/Conservative Intel poll conducted earlier this month, Cotton holds a 43 to 41 percent lead over Pryor. Forty-eight percent of respondents also said they believe Arkansas should give “someone else a chance” in the Senate, while 33 percent thought Pryor deserved reelection. Pryor also had a well-underwater approval rating at 32 percent.

Cotton announced on Tuesday evening that he will run for the Republican nominatio, but, as Eliana Johnson reported last week for NRO, he’s been building a campaign infrastructure for a while. “Some say I haven’t been in Washington long enough to run for the Senate, but I’ve been there long enough to know that Washington needs to change,” he said in his announcement.

RealClearPolitics’s Sean Trende notes that a liberal, union-commisioned poll found Pryor up eight points on Cotton, though it “also found Obama to have an improbable 41 percent approval rating in the state.” Weighing the two polls, he suggests Pryor and Cotton are just about tied up for now, with support for each in the low 40s. That’s ”a precarious position for a two-term incumbent, especially when a majority of the undecided voters probably disapprove of the president,” he says, though Republicans “shouldn’t pop the champagne bottles just yet.”

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