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POLITICS: PennAve

As public polls show growing gap in Arkansas Senate race, Tom Cotton campaign poll shows closer contest with Mark Pryor

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Politics,Arkansas,Polls,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Tom Cotton,Mark Pryor

As some recent public polls have shown Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., with an expanding lead over his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, a survey conducted for Cotton's campaign depicts a much closer race -- with Cotton holding a narrow lead among likely voters.

The poll by Republican firm OnMessage Inc., which surveyed 600 likely voters from May 6 through May 8, shows Cotton leading Pryor by two points, 42 percent to 40 percent. That result does depict some slipping for Cotton, however: Another poll conducted for Cotton's campaign by OnMessage in October showed Cotton with a slightly larger lead over Pryor, 45 percent to 41 percent.

In a memo to Cotton's campaign, provided to the Washington Examiner, OnMessage pollster Wes Anderson called the results "encouraging" and wrote that they indicate Pryor is "in a very precarious position" for an incumbent.

"We have successfully weathered a constant hailstorm of negative ads and remain in excellent position to win this race," Anderson concluded.

In the memo, Anderson also pans a recent NBC News/Marist poll, which found Pryor leading Cotton by 11 points, as having used "questionable methodology," polling registered voters rather than screening for likely voters. That poll surveyed nearly twice as many people as did the poll conducted for Cotton's campaign.

Cotton's campaign has recently attempted to gain momentum in the race with a new positive television ad, featuring Cotton and his father, Len, on the family's farm. The ad began airing last week in Arkansas in the Fort Smith and Little Rock television markets.

OnMessage Inc. Tom Cotton poll

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