The 2004 United States Senate election in Arkansas took place on November 2, 2004 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln ran for re-election. Lincoln won re-election, while President George W. Bush carried the state with almost the same margin of victory.
The Democratic Party holds super-majority status in the Arkansas General Assembly. A majority of local and statewide offices are also held by Democrats. This is rare in the modern South, where a majority of statewide offices are held by Republicans. Arkansas had the distinction in 1992 of being the only state in the country to give the majority of its vote to a single candidate in the presidential election—native son Bill Clinton—while every other state's electoral votes were won by pluralities of the vote among the three candidates. Arkansas has become more reliably Republican in presidential elections in recent years. The state voted for John McCain in 2008 by a margin of 20 percentage points, making it one of the few states in the country to vote more Republican than it had in 2004. (The others being Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and West Virginia.) Obama's relatively poor showing in Arkansas was likely due to a lack of enthusiasm from state Democrats following former Arkansas First Lady Hillary Clinton's failure to win the nomination, and his relatively poor performance among rural white voters.
Democrats have an overwhelming majority of registered voters, the Democratic Party of Arkansas is more conservative than the national entity. Two of Arkansas' three Democratic Representatives are members of the Blue Dog Coalition, which tends to be more pro-business, pro-military, and socially conservative than the center-left Democratic mainstream. Reflecting the state's large evangelical population, the state has a strong social conservative bent. Under the Arkansas Constitution Arkansas is a right to work state, its voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage with 74% voting yes, and the state is one of a handful that has legislation on its books banning abortion in the event Roe vs. Wade is ever overturned.
Lincoln was a popular incumbent. In March, she an approval rating of 55%. Lincoln calls herself an advocate for rural America, having grown up on a farm herself. Holt is from Northwest Arkansas, who also lives on a farm. Holt was widely known as a long shot. By the end of June, he only raised $29,000, while Lincoln had over $5 million cash on hand. Holt tried to make gay marriage a major issue, because defining marriage was on the ballot. He even said "it is the most important issue, I believe, in America."