National polls consistently showed that Americans place most of the blame for a government shutdown squarely on the shoulders of Republicans, but two new polls found a very different story in Arkansas.
A University of Arkansas poll shows 37 percent of respondents blamed Democrats and the president for the government shutdown, while 26 percent pointed fingers at Republicans in Congress. Another poll by Talk Businessand Hendrix College, released immediately after the government reopened, showed that 40 percent blame Democrats and the president for the shutdown, while 35 percent blame Republicans in Congress.
Those results, drawn from a state that has gradually trended Republican, contrasts notably with a rash of national polls showing the opposite dynamic in public opinion.
Whether voters in Arkansas blame Democrats or Republicans for the government shutdown may be especially important in the state's 2014 Senate race, one of the most competitive in the country. Republican Rep. Tom Cotton will be challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor for his seat.
Both Arkansas polls show Pryor's approval rating hovering in the low- to mid-30 percent range, but the matchup between Cotton and Pryor is locked in a statistical tie.