The New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation polled four key Senate races in the South:
Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 46%, Tom Cotton (R) 36%
Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) 44%, Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) 43%
Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 42%, Bill Cassidy (D) 18%
North Carolina: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) 42%, Thom Tillis (R) 40%
The Upshot: “The survey underscores a favorable political environment over all for Republicans in Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas — states President Obama lost in 2012 and where his disapproval rating runs as high as 60 percent. But it also shows how circumstances in each state are keeping them in play for the Democrats a little more than six months before the midterm elections.”
That DSCC memo I mentioned in the earlier item on the state treasurer’s race may be right. Obamacare may not get the job done.
The poll also sampled the race for Arkansas governor. There, the number was Asa Hutchinson 41, Mike Ross 40. Dead heat.
Here’s the Times report. The poll was done April 8-15 and sampled more than 1,000 Arkansans, about 850 of them registered voters and that’s the group on which the horse race result is based. I know. Republicans will say consider the source, the sample is skewed, the moon was full, whatever. I’m not ready to buy a 10-point lead, but I am ready to buy the growing evidence that Mark Pryor is a lot stronger than Blanche Lincoln and that Tom Cotton isn’t catching fire, unsurprising given his odd demeanor and his extremist voting record.
Among the poll findings at the link: Mark Pryor’s 47 percent approval rating exceeds a 41 percent rating for Sen. John Boozman. And, yes, voters still love Gov. Mike Beebe — 68 percent approval rating. You’d think Republicans wouldn’t keep overriding vetoes of such a popular governor.
UPDATE: Sure enough, here comes Bill Kristol — creator of Sarah Palin and a Tom Cotton idolator — to question the poll for an insufficent anti-Obama gap on a question of Arkansas respondents on their votes in 2012.
UPDATE II: Strong pushback from NYT on criticism of the poll.