Speed Reads

2014 Watch

New polls show close races for Democratic senators in Arkansas, Alaska

Two red-state Democratic senators are in tight races for re-election, with one of them narrowly trailing and the other slightly ahead, according to a new pair of surveys from Democratic-aligned firm Public Policy Polling.

The poll of Arkansas has Republican Rep. Tom Cotton in a narrow lead with 41 percent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor at 39 percent, plus Green Party candidate Mark Swaney at 4 percent and Libertarian candidate Nathan LaFrance with 3 percent. The survey was conducted August 1 to 3, with a margin of error at plus or minus 3 percentage points.

From the pollster's analysis: "Every single poll PPP has done of this race has found the candidates within three points of each other. It's possible someone will break away in the closing stretch but for now it looks like it's going down to the wire."

The poll of Alaska, meanwhile, still shows incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich ahead of each of his two most plausible Republican opponents.

Matched up against former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan, Begich has 43 percent, Sullivan 37 percent, plus Libertarian nominee Mark Fish at 4 percent and Alaska Independence Party candidate Vic Kohring with 3 percent. In a trial heat with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Begich has 42 percent, Treadwell 38 percent, plus Fish at 5 percent and Kohring at 3 percent. The survey was conducted from July 31 to August 3, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percent.

The Republican primary will be held in two weeks, on August 19.