PPP's new Arkansas poll finds the Senate race continues to be extremely close, with Mark Pryor leading Tom Cotton 43/42. That is basically unchanged from our last poll of the state in December, which found the candidates knotted at 44%. The early flurry of negative ads in the contest has left both candidates unpopular, with Pryor sporting a 38/46 approval rating and Cotton at a 37/42 favorability. To some extent this is shaping up for voters as a 'lesser of two evils' choice.
One thing hanging over this contest is Barack Obama's unpopularity in the state. Only 33% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 61% who disapprove, and among voters who are undecided in the Senate race Obama's numbers are even worse at a 13/74 spread. Voters disliking Obama isn't a total dealbreaker for Pryor- right now he's winning 16% of those folks and another 19% are undecided- but he'll definitely have to pick up a lot of those folks to win this fall.
In contrast to the Senate race, voters like both of their major choices for Governor. Asa Hutchinson has a 40/33 favorability rating, and Mike Ross registers at 37/29. Hutchinson has opened up a 46/38 lead in our poll, although most recent surveys show the race much closer. Ross would have a 43/33 advantage over Hutchinson's primary challenger, Curtis Coleman. But it doesn't look like Hutchinson has a ton to worry about in the primary- he leads Coleman 62/23, including a 67/23 advantage with voters who identify themselves as 'very conservative.'
Finally we tested the contest for State Land Commissioner and found that the key to success for a Libertarian candidate is being named Elvis Presley. Presley polls at 17% in that race, the highest level of support we've ever found for a hopeful from his party. Republican John Thurston leads Democrat Mark Robertson 28-27, putting Presley at least in striking range compared to where his party's candidates usually find themselves.
Full results here