Tom Cotton's Libertarian Challenger Touts New Poll That 'Flips the Table' on Arkansas Senate Race

Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. is the Libertarian candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Arkansas and he's currently 11 points behind incumbent Republican Senator Tom Cotton.

However, Harrington is citing a recent poll as evidence that he can win if he can mobilize undecided voters by November 3. His campaign has touted polling from American Research Group from October 7-9 that shows 13 percent of voters haven't made up their minds yet.

American Research Group has a B rating from poll tracker FiveThirtyEight. Though not their highest grade, this is better than their rating for major pollster Rasmussen and the same assessment they give YouGov.

There's no Democrat running against Cotton this year and polling on the race is limited but Harrington made a fundraising appeal based on the recent poll.

"I need your help! The polling data shows @SenTomCotton at 49%, myself at 39%, and 12% undecided," Harrington tweeted, getting the figures wrong.

"Will you donate today to help us reach those undecided voters? This is a winnable race but we need your support!" he said.

Harrington would need almost all undecided voters to back him if he stands a chance of beating Cotton in November. The American Research Group poll tracks with Cotton's 2014 Senate race. He defeated Democratic Senator Matt Pryor by 56.5 percent to 39.4 percent.

The Harrington campaign released a statement on October 10 touting the poll and suggesting it was possible to defeat Cotton, who's been a major supporter of President Donald Trump.

"With so little known about how Arkansas voters will react to the unusual
choice of just Republican or Libertarian options, the 13% undecided can yet have a large influence one way or the other in this race," the campaign said, according to the Arkansas Times.

"So far, election forecasters like ABC News' FiveThirtyEight have predicted this race with Cotton winning with over 80 percent of the Arkansas vote to Harrington's 18 percent. The large portion of undecideds in this poll, along with the margin of error, flips the table on what has been seen throughout the election season as an absolute dead lock for Senator Cotton.

"Considering how little attention has been given to this race by the public and the media, for a relatively unknown challenger to be polling this well is noteworthy."

The 2014 Libertarian candidate Nathan LaFrance won just 2 percent of the vote but he was running against both Cotton and Pryor, the incumbent senator. With no Democrat in the race, Harrington appears to have picked up support from Arkansas voters opposed to Cotton. However, FiveThirtyEight gives Harrington a less than 1 in 100 chance of winning.

Tom Cotton Attends the Senate Banking Committee
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attends a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on September 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell are testifying about the CARES Act and the economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. His Libertarian opponent has made an appeal to undecided voters. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Tom Cotton's Libertarian Challenger Touts New Poll That 'Flips the Table' on Arkansas Senate Race | Politics