Cotton leads Pryor in internal poll

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) leads Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) in a new internal poll from Cotton's campaign first shared with The Hill. [READ POLLING MEMO.]

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Cotton leads Pryor by 47 percent to 40 percent in the live-caller poll, conducted by OnMessageInc for Cotton's campaign.

Campaigns' internal polls should always be viewed with a bit of skepticism, as they're released to help set narratives, and there has been little public polling of the race since early May. A number of late April polls had found Pryor with the lead.

But Cotton's numbers are in line with a number of other Republican pollsters' figures that have been released since Memorial Day, and follows increased ad spending by Cotton's campaign after outside groups had mostly dominated the airwaves in the race.

President Obama's standing in the deep red state is clearly hurting Pryor. The president is at 35 percent approval rating in the poll, with 61 percent disapproving.

The memo argues that Cotton's recent barrage of mostly positive ads has helped him weather the storm of outside attacks and puts him in position to win a key Senate battle.

"Senator Pryor cannot escape the gravity of his own support for President Obama’s agenda which continually holds  him to a vote share in the low 40’s," pollster Wes Anderson writes in the memo. "While we undoubtedly have a number of additional attacks to defend between now and the first Tuesday in November, we hold the high cards as our message is resonating with the voters while Senator Pryor’s appears to be doing little to help him."

Pryor's campaign fired back.

"It says a lot about Congressman Cotton's flagging candidacy that for the second time in less than two months, he's felt compelled to release an internal 'poll' hoping deflect attention from Arkansans' serious skepticism over his votes against seniors, students, women and families recovering from devastating storms," Pryor spokesman Erik Dorey said in a statement.

The Pryor campaign has not released any of its own internals.

The live-caller poll of 600 likely voters was conducted from June 9-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The partisan composition of this poll is 36 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican and 27 percent independent.

This post was updated at 12:45 p.m.

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