It's a funny habit we political pundits have. If, say, 3,000 votes separate a winner from a loser, we forget that a small shift in some part of a state could have swung those votes the other way, and we tend to massively over-interpret the meaning of the tiniest of margins. So let's say that the results in Arkansas were flipped -- that Lincoln won by a point, the interpretation ought to be nearly the same, logically.
Here's an example, from @taniel: "Last minute "Lincoln is toast" CW could now allow national Dems to exult instead of noticing a 3-month campaign nearly toppled 18-yr Senator."
OK. But you could just as easily say: A three-month, $10 million campaign fortified by labor boots on the ground and an intense barrage of attacks from the right and the left barely pushed aside (or nearly toppled) an unpopular incumbent in an anti-Washington environment.
1. Even in a loss, Bill Clinton is Kingfish. The man has it. He did radio ads and robocalls and campaigned for Blanche Lincoln, and black voters turned out where Lincoln needed them to. (Remember just two years ago how Bill Clinton was in the doghouse? Short memories!).
2. The close matters. A lot of attention will be paid to precisely how each candidate spent their final hours...what the media mix was like...what tinkering the get out the vote operations made.