A new poll released yesterday by the University of Arkansas shows that voters in the state place more blame for the government shutdown on President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, a finding that could put Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) in a tough spot in his bid for re-election.
Pryor has been trying to distance himself from President Obama and national Democrats, going so far to tie himself to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a moderate who tried to broker a compromise to reopen the federal government before being rebuffed by the White House and Senate Democratic leaders. The Arkansas senator has tried to blame his opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), for the shutdown.
The University of Arkansas poll found that Pryor’s approval rating has dropped from 53% in 2012 to 34%. Voters in the state now mostly disapprove of his job performance, which has jumped from 21% last year to 44% this year.
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) has also taken a hit, but his numbers are still above water, currently at 34/29, down from 45/18 last year.
The poll release notes that both senators are polling below former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who was ousted by Boozman in 2010 by a large margin. Boozman will have time to recover he’s up for re-election in 2016. Pryor, however, faces a much more bumpy road ahead.
Though the poll found Democratic support remaining steady and Republicans slightly declining, it also found independents have been on the rise and a majority of the lean toward the GOP.
“The 2014 elections were too close to call, although likely voters were more likely to choose someone from the Republican Party in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives or state legislature for which no candidates were specified,” noted the University of Arkansas in the release.
Pryor is going to have a tough time explaining his support for many of President Obama’s policies, including ObamaCare, and his desire for more tax revenues. Polls between he and Cotton are close, but voters may no longer be willing to give Pryor the benefit of the doubt.