Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) has a 5-point lead over Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), according to a new live-caller poll conducted for the Democratic Party of Arkansas.
The race is a key battle for Senate control, and Cotton and Pryor have been fighting tooth and nail for months in the heavily conservative state.
Partisan polls should always be taken with a grain of salt, and this poll's methodology is unusual — it was conducted for more than a week, from Aug. 6-14. It's also a poll of registered voters, who tend to skew a bit more Democratic than likely voter samples, though the racial breakdown of the poll seems pretty close to what most strategists expect, at 87 percent white and 12 percent African-American.
Two recent public polls — an early August one from Democratic robo-polling firm Public Policy Polling and a late July one conducted by Hendrix College — found Cotton with a narrow lead in the race.
Arkansas has seen one of the widest gaps between Democratic and Republican polling this year, with Pryor leading in most Democratic polls and Cotton consistently up in polls from Republican firms.
Pryor's approval ratings are better than Cotton's in the poll, a reason why he's hung in the race despite his party's weak standing in the state. Forty-six percent approve to 41 percent who disapprove for Pryor, while 41 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove of Cotton.
The poll also finds the race for governor tied between former Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) at 44 percent apiece.
The live-caller poll of 414 registered voters was conducted from Aug. 6-14 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
This post was updated at 4:50 p.m.