The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Monday touted a strong poll showing for GOP Rep. Tom Cotton in his challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas — an early sign that Pryor faces “deep vulnerabilities in 2014,” NRSC political director Ward Baker wrote in a memo.
“Although Pryor’s image is slightly positive, only 15 percent out of 41 percent feel ‘very favorable’ toward the Senator (it is a huge red flag for an incumbent to have strong intensity represent less than half of his support),” Baker wrote in the memo, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The NRSC poll shows Pryor and Cotton in a statistical tie more than a year out from Election Day, which is consistent with most other polls conducted on the race so far. The NRSC called Cotton's showing “surprisingly strong for a first-time statewide candidate who has only represented a quarter of the state,” calling it a reflection of Cotton's “broad appeal.”
Democrats argue that Cotton will lose some of this early support once Arkansas voters learn more about him and his policies, including his votes against a five-year farm bill and lower interest rates for student loans. Republicans, in turn, say Pryor's support for President Obama's health care law could hurt him with Arkansas voters.
“The real danger for Pryor has been his support for President Obama’s agenda,” Baker wrote.
“With liabilities like these, little core support to sustain the campaign, and a formidable opponent,” the Republican memo concludes, “Pryor’s chances are not looking good in 2014.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has not released any polling on the Arkansas race.