The Cotton-Pryor race: neck-and-neck after all

I was surprised in early April when two polls — one by New York Times/Kaiser, the other by Opinion Research Associates — showed Sen. Mark Pryor leading Rep. Tom Cotton by 10 points. Frankly, I didn’t believe that these polls accurately reflected the state of the race.

But then, in early May, an NBC/Marist poll gave Pryor an 11 point lead, 51-40. Although Tom’s campaign pointed to internal polling that had the race essentially even, I became concerned.

Now, however, Rasmussen has a released survey conducted on May 27 and 28. The results? Cotton 47, Pryor 43.

Is this poll an outlier? Not if one construes it as showing the race more or less level (the margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 4 percent). A PPP poll conducted just before the NBC/Marist survey had Pryor leading by 1 point, 43-42.

Thus, among the three polls taken in the past six weeks or so, the NBC/Marist poll is the outlier. In two of these three polls, Pryor’s support is limited to 43 percent. An incumbent Senator never wants to be there.

I draw two conclusions. First, the race is too close to call. Second, Pryor’s “fundamentals” must be bad, indeed.

Tom will need plenty of support. If you would like to provide some, you can do so here.

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