WASHINGTON — Arkansas Republican candidates are edging out Democrats in a Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters released Tuesday.

WASHINGTON — Arkansas Republican candidates are edging out Democrats in a Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters released Tuesday.


In the U.S. Senate race, the poll shows Republican Tom Cotton leading Democrat Mark Pryor, 43 to 38 percent, among 1,453 likely voters surveyed between Sept. 18-21. An earlier PPP poll had Cotton ahead 41-39.


In the governor’s race, Republican Asa Hutchinson leads Democrat Mike Ross, 44 to 38 percent, according to the survey. Republicans are also ahead in down ticket contests for lieutenant governor, attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state.


"Arkansas is leaning toward supporting the GOP ticket right now," said PPP President Dean Debnam. "The silver lining for Democrats is that they’re only down by 5 or 6 points in the key races, leaving some room for a comeback."


The survey found broad support for a ballot initiative seeking an increase in the state’s minimum wage with 68 percent in favor of raising the minimum from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017 while 24 percent oppose the measure.


The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.


Like most surveys of Arkansas voters this election cycle, the PPP poll found President Barack Obama to be widely unpopular with 62 percent of Arkansans disapproving of his job performance and only 31 percent approving.


Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, enjoys substantial support with 63 percent approving of his job performance and only 21 percent disapproving.


The PPP survey also asked voters about potential 2016 presidential matchups between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican rivals.


Most of the GOP contenders have a slight edge over Clinton. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was the strongest with a 53 to 41 percent advantage. Jeb Bush was favored over Clinton, 46 to 42 percent, Ted Cruz, 44 to 43 percent, and Rand Paul 45 to 43 percent. Clinton was favored over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 42 to 41 percent.