Americans Crossroads is beginning a major ad buy in Arkansas on Tuesday, spending nearly a half-million dollars on a new TV spot that tells viewers Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor votes just like President Obama.
And just as the Karl Rove-linked super PAC hits the airwaves, it’s also releasing an internal poll of its own showing the GOP nominee, Rep. Tom Cotton, with a comfortable 5-point lead over the two-term Democratic incumbent among likely voters. The GOP survey reports the president’s approval ratings hovering in the mid-30s — a dangerous level of support for any candidate running in the same party.
Collectively, the actions look like an attempt to reassure nervous supporters that Cotton is a clear-cut favorite to win in November after a rocky couple of months for his campaign. Once the GOP’s most celebrated recruit of 2014, Cotton has watched a string of public polls this spring show Pryor unexpectedly holding the lead — one by as many as 11 points. Although outwardly still confident, the Republican’s aides began acknowledging they had made mistakes in the race’s early going.
But Cotton still has the advantage of running in a deeply red state and with the help of well-funded outside group allies, who have already spent millions aiding his candidacy. The latest ad, a $440,000 buy spread over one week, revisits an old theme of the campaign: Pryor votes just like the unpopular Obama.
In the spot, a grade-schooler is asked to spell “Pryor” in a kind of mock spelling bee. The child responds by spelling out “O-B-A-M-A,” and the judges rule that she was “close enough.” (The Scripps National Spelling Bee was held last week.)
Crossroads’ survey found Obama’s approval rating underwater, with 35 percent approving and 62 percent disapproving of his performance. It showed Pryor with a stronger favorability among voters — 45 percent approving, 36 percent disapproving versus 40 percent to 36 percent for Cotton — but a generic Republican candidate with a 5-point edge over Pryor, 45 percent to 40 percent.
The poll, conducted from May 27 to May 29 by Public Opinion Strategies, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.39 percentage points. It surveyed 500 likely voters by landline and cell phone.
In the head-to-head matchup, Cotton leads 46 percent to 41 percent, with 7 percent undecided.
“Forty-one percent is a perilous place for an incumbent to find himself, and Mark Pryor is a serious underdog to Tom Cotton in this race,” the polling memo from POS read.
The poll also found Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson leading Democrat Mike Ross 48 percent to 42 percent.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."