TOO CLOSE TO CALL: In new poll, Scott's 5-point lead is within the margin of error, with 20 percent still undecided.

Via KARK, a new poll released by Public Policy Polling shows Frank Scott with a 5-point lead over Baker Kurrus in the race for Little Rock mayor — within the margin of error in the poll, which KARK reports as “effectively tied” (that’s all according to KARK’s summary, which seems to be spun somewhat in Kurrus’s favor; there is no link to the full poll results).

*** UPDATE: A number of critics of KARK’s report have pointed out that the story’s lone talking head offering analysis of the poll, Chris Burks, is a strong backer of Baker Kurrus; that the poll’s full questions, results, demographics, methodology and statistical information have not been publicly released; that no information has been provided regarding who commissioned the poll (KARK did not commission it and has stated it was received from a confidential source, and the Kurrus campaign also says they did not commission it); and that even if Scott’s lead is in fact within the margin of error, that does not necessarily mean that the race is “effectively tied.” ***

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*** UPDATE 2: KARK has now significantly revised its story — and presented information that suggests that this was a “push poll” with questions geared in favor of Kurrus and against Scott. The phrase “effectively tied” in the KARK story has been changed to “statistical toss-up” (based upon what we know about the poll, that is still not an accurate description of a poll that shows Scott with a 5-point lead, even if it is within the margin of error). “Tossup” remains the lede, but the next sentence acknowledges that the poll shows Scott in the lead; statements from both the Scott and Kurrus campaigns have now been included, along with the commentary of Chris Burks. There is still no link to the full poll and scant detail about methodology, but some demographic information has now been provided, and they have now included several sample questions. Those questions strongly suggest that this was a pro-Kurrus/anti-Scott push poll. KARK does not disclose who commissioned the poll, but does report that the poll was not commissioned by either campaign. ***

*** UPDATE 3: It was Burks who commissioned the poll. He provided a copy of the full results to the Arkansas Times, which we have published in this post. Burks and PPP vehemently object to any characterization of their questions as a “push poll.” See this post for details.***

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Scott was the top vote getter in the the initial election earlier this month, grabbing 37 percent of the vote. That set up a runoff, as 40 percent was the threshold for winning outright. Kurrus finished second with 29 percent of the vote — squeaking by third-place finisher Warwick Sabin by around 500 votes. The runoff election between Scott and Kurrus will be held on December 4.

The PPP poll surveyed 685 voters — 43 percent said they backed Scott, 38 percent were for Kurrus and a whopping 20 percent were not sure.

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One interesting finding, according to KARK: Voters who backed Sabin appear to be breaking for Kurrus. The poll found that 45 percent of those who voted for Sabin earlier this month now back Kurrus, with 32 percent for Scott and 23 percent not sure.

More from KARK:

Half the voters polled said crime is the most important issue to them, while 20 percent identified restoring local control to the Little Rock School District as the most important. Raising wages of city employees, stopping the I-630 and I-30 bridge widening, and protecting marriage equality and adding LGBT protections to city law all received less than 10 percent of support, while the remaining 10 percent was not sure.

The poll shows Scott receives more support from African American and younger voters, while Kurrus’ base includes a mix of Democratic, Republican and Independent voters, as well as older voters.