A new Talk Business Poll shows Republicans leading in three of Arkansas’ four Congressional Districts, with Rogers Mayor Steve Womack (R) widening his lead in the 3rd Congressional District.
“We see some stability in two races for Congress and tightening in two others as we head into the final two weeks of this campaign,” said Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock. “For now, Republicans appear poised to make Arkansas history with key pick-ups, but with tremendous resources on the Democratic side they won’t make those gains without an epic fight.”
The polls were conducted by Talk Business Research and Hendrix College. The polls, which have margin of errors ranging from +/- 4.2% to +/-4.7%, were completed using IVR survey technology on Oct. 14, 2010 among a random sample of registered Arkansas voters in all four Congressional Districts who indicated they were "likely" to vote in the Nov. 2 general election. (Link here for the full story and to link to detailed survey results for each district.)
In the 3rd District, Womack’s lead over Democratic candidate David Whitaker has grown from 55-31 on Aug. 25, to 59-21 as of Oct. 14.
“This is a solid Republican district and it shows no signs in this election year of changing its stripes,” said Brock. “I would also note that it appears some Whitaker supporters have moved to an undecided position or to Womack from our last poll.”
Republican Rick Crawford has a 42-34 lead over Democrat Chad Causey in the traditionally Democratic 1st Congressional District. However, Crawford’s lead has slipped from the 48-32 margin he held as of Aug. 17.
The 2nd District has Republican Tim Griffin up 50-38 over Democrat Joyce Elliot, a shift in Elliot’s favor from Griffin’s 52-35 lead on Aug. 17.
In the 4th District (which includes portions of the Fort Smith metro area), U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, holds a 52-34 lead over Republican Beth Anne Rankin. Ross’ margin has not changed from the 49-31 lead as of Aug. 25-26. The number of undecideds in the race has shrunk from 16% in late August to 11% as of Oct. 14.
Dr. Jay Barth, with the Hendrix College Department of Politics and International Relations, helped craft and analyze the polls. He offered the following observations from the results:
• 1st District
Rick Crawford maintains a lead in this historically Democratic district. However, his 16-point lead in August has shrunk to 8 points in this current poll. And, Crawford does remain short of the 50% mark. Both candidates have significant pots of money for the stretch run of the campaign and party committees and outside groups are also engaged fully in the race. All signs are that this race will be close until the end, although Crawford is advantaged going into the closing weeks of the race.
• 2nd District
In the race to replace veteran Democratic congressman Vic Snyder, Republican Tim Griffin maintains a solid 12-point lead in the race and just breaks the 50% mark. This does show a drop from Griffin’s 17-point lead in late August. Griffin continues his strong showing among both Republicans (with 88.1% support) and independents (with 68.8% support). Meanwhile, Elliott still needs to consolidate support among Democrats; she is gaining just under a quarter (74.1%) of Democratic identifiers’ votes.
• 3rd District
Republican Steve Womack continues to dominate the race for John Boozman’s seat in Congress in this reliably Republican district. After a deeply factionalized Republican primary battle, Womack has consolidated Republican support. Our survey shows 88.1% of Republican voters support Womack. He also leads strongly (with 61.3%) among independents in the district.
As in the other races, a sizable gender gap is showing itself in the Third District. While being held to 50% among women, Womack leads strongly (65.1%) among male voters in the district.
• 4th District
The sole incumbent running for re-election also shows himself to be in solid shape going into the final days of the campaign. Democratic Congressman Mike Ross maintains an 18% lead against GOP nominee Beth Anne Rankin. While this is the same margin that Ross had in our late August poll, he now shows a majority of voters supporting him.
Ross is the rare Democrat in Arkansas in 2010 (along with Gov. Mike Beebe) who is not losing independent voters. The two Democrats are tied with their GOP counterparts among that group in the Fourth with 41.8%. But, Ross is winning over three-fourths of Democratic voters in what remains a Democratic district.