For the second time this week, a poll has found Sen. Mark Pryor leading over challenger Rep. Tom Cotton in a tight race. A non-partisan live-caller poll released this morning by Opinion Research Associates showed Pryor up 48-38. This comes on the heels of a Talk Business poll showing Pryor leading Cotton 45.5 percent to 42.5 percent, a statistical dead heat. 

Obviously, this is good news for Pryor given that political observers in recent weeks have generally regarded his re-election prospects with doom and gloom. CNN offers some reasons for caution: 


While Pryor holds a 10-percentage point advantage – which is right at the edge of the poll’s sampling error – it should be noted that the incumbent is under 50%. Thirteen percent questioned in the survey said they were undecided. Political experts generally believe that undecided voters tend to break against the incumbent.

The Hill’s take

On paper, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) should be this cycle’s most endangered incumbent.

But rumors of his political death might have been premature.

Eight months from Election Day, the centrist Democrat is still neck and neck with or ahead of his GOP opponent in private and partisan polls. An independent poll this week showed Pryor up 3 points and a second on Thursday put him up 10 points, despite a sour national climate and $6 million in negative ads already spent against him.

Will Cotton re-assess whether merely repeating “Obamacare” over and over and over will be enough to anoint him? We’ll see. 


All caveats about not over-reading a single poll months before the election apply, natch.