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To: Cotton and NRSC Leadership
From: Wes Anderson
Date: June 17, 2014
Re: Our latest Brushfire
The following survey was conducted by OnMessage Inc. in Arkansas. Telephone interviews were
conducted June 9-11, 2014. This survey consists of 600 likely voters including 180 voters reached on
mobile phones. Interviews were stratified by county to reflect historic voter turnout trends. The partisan
composition of this survey is 36% Democrat, 27% Independent and 35% Republican. The margin of
error for this survey is +/-4.00%.
Following a solid month of advertising by both sides, the race now stands at 47% Cotton, 40%
Pryor and 9% undecided with 4% split between the minor party candidates. This survey
represents Tom’s current high-water mark in all internal polling conducted in 2013 and 2014.
Perhaps the more important finding is the fact that Senator Pryor’s ballot share has remained
mired in the low 40’s for over a year now. In fact, Pryor’s ballot share across surveys is
remarkably stable—troubling news for any incumbent, let alone a Democrat in an increasingly
red, southern state. Despite numerous attempts to attack his way upward, Pryor has undoubtedly
hit a ceiling.
By partisanship, Cotton now leads Pryor by 49% to 30% among Independent voters. Again, this
represents a significant shift our way over the last two months. Furthermore, Tom still has easy
room for growth with 11% of Republicans still Undecided compared to just 4% of Democrats.
To date, a full fifty-nine percent of the voters claim to have recently seen advertisements about
both candidates. Among these voters we lead Pryor 51% to 42% respectively. This is a clear
indication that voters are responding positively to our messaging and have rejected the recent
attacks leveled at us by both the Pryor campaign and his allies.
We asked the voters to tell us their interest in this election on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10
representing the highest interest level. Among the 8 to 10’s, we lead Pryor 51% to 38%. An
intensity advantage is important in any election, but that’s especially true in a mid-term as 8 to 10
voters make up a greater percentage of overall turnout.
Tom’s image now sits at a net +8 (44% favorable to 36% unfavorable). This represents our high-
water mark for favorability to date. Much of our gains have come from the smaller markets
where our initial name ID was fairly low to start the race.
Tom’s ballot share continues to move forward in the Ft. Smith/Fayetteville media market as
voters get to know him better there. He now earns 57% to Pryor’s 29% in the Northwest
Arkansas market which nearly conforms to the generic ballot split of 60% R - 23% Din that part
of the state. In our last survey five weeks ago, Tom’s lead in this key GOP region was just 12
points. In March, it was just 3 points. This predictable movement is a key part of our growth
Pryor’s image is currently upside down at a net -2 (43% favorable to 45% unfavorable). This
represents the high-water mark to date for Pryor’s unfavorables. Pryor’s failure to separate
himself from Obama’s record has begun to weigh down his image as voters learn there is a strong
President Obama’s image in Arkansas remains deeply underwater at -26 (35% favorable to 61%
unfavorable), while his signature legislation is a net -30 (33% favor to 63% oppose the
Affordable Care Act). This issue is front-and-center in this race despite the Democrats’ best
attempts to avoid it, and that primacy is an inhibitor to all of Pryor’s efforts.
The Undecided pool in this race is dwindling quickly – down to less than 10% of the overall
sample. That said, it should provide more votes for Tom to yield as we move forward. Almost
half of these voters (43%) still have no opinion of Tom at this point, and the group leans right—
just 28% view President Obama favorably while 59% view him unfavorably. Moreover,
Obamacare is underwater with Undecideds by a 25%/65% margin.
Bottom line, we weathered the recent attacks from the Pryor campaign and his allies very well. In fact,
we’re now stronger than ever and in striking distance to a majority of the vote. At the same time, 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. 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.