As you can see from the map, there are many “purple counties” that were carried by U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor in 2002 and then again by Gov. Mike Beebe in 2006. These counties will be paramount for Democrats to win if they have any chance of retaining the Governor’s office and the U.S. Senate seat.
In the 2010 election cycle, I surveyed thousands of independent voters. I found that only two Democratic candidates for congressional and statewide offices outperformed Republicans among independent voters. Those two candidates were Mike Ross and Mike Beebe. This suggests that a “blue-dog” Democratic candidate might be competitive.PS: Re independents: Reed says current polling shows both Asa Hutchinson and Tom Cotton leading their respective races by double-digit margins. I don't know if I buy that. But I do think this new polling, reputedly done for an Arkansas issue campaign and provided to Cook's Outlook at Talk Business, shows Pryor with a 47-41 lead over Tom Cotton in the Senate race in a poll in which 42 percent of the respondents described themselves as independent.