- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A new poll gives GOP Rep. Tom Cotton a five-point lead in his bid to oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas in one of the most closely-watched U.S. Senate races this year.

Mr. Cotton leads Mr. Pryor by five points, 43 percent to 38 percent, according to the survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. When supporters of two third-party candidates were asked if they lean toward Mr. Cotton or Mr. Pryor, Mr. Cotton held a similar six-point lead, at 45 percent to 39 percent.

Mr. Cotton is buoyed by support from independents, who break for him over Mr. Pryor by a 53 percent to 20 percent margin. Thirty-six percent approve of Mr. Pryor’s job performance, compared to 51 percent who disapprove. Forty percent have a favorable opinion of Mr. Cotton, compared to 41 percent who view him unfavorably.

Mr. Pryor could be hampered, in part, by President Obama’s 31 percent/62 percent approval/disapproval split in the state, including a 13 percent/80 percent split among independent voters.

Mr. Cotton has about a three-point lead in Real Clear Politics’ average of latest polling on the race. Republicans are hoping to win in Arkansas en route to the six net seats they need to win in order to re-take control of the Senate, while Democrats are hopeful a Pryor win in the close race will help them retain control of the chamber, where they currently enjoy a 55-45 advantage.

The survey of 1,453 likely voters was conducted Sept. 18-21 and has a margin of error of plus/minus 2.6 percentage points.

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