Sinema Rebounding

Two new Arizona US Senate polls were just released, and both show a significant change in the race status. 

While previous polls were projecting Republican Kari Lake holding a small lead, this pair of studies to be described below sees US Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) moving into first place and incumbent Kyrsten Sinema*, running on the Independent line, substantially improving her position. Previously, the incumbent was languishing in the teens, but now both surveys find her moving into the 20+ percentile range and back in competitive position.

Emerson College surveyed the Arizona electorate over the February 16-19 period (1,000 AZ registered voters; multiple sampling techniques) and the results find a 36-30-21% Gallego, Lake, and Sinema split.

Arizona based Noble Predictive Insights polled the state during the February 6-13 period (1,002 AZ registered voters; online) and projected a similar result, 34-31-23% in the same order as the Emerson ballot test.

Sen. Sinema’s current survey standing represents a significant gain when compared to previous polling. Until the release of the Emerson College and Noble polls, Ms. Sinema had only broken the 20% threshold once since October 1st, which proved to be one of her best showings since campaigning began.

Though she hit the 29% mark in a previous Noble Predictive Insights late October survey, she averaged a total support figure of just 15.9% when calculating the results of nine polls from eight different research entities. If you remove the 29% Noble figure, which was a clear outlier, her average was an even lower 14.2% over eight surveys.

In the Emerson poll, Sinema tops Gallego among the Independent voters by just two points, 30-28%, with Lake receiving 20% within this segment. In order to win the three-way race, Sinema will need a larger vote share from Independents, which, for her, should be a natural constituency.

The Noble poll better isolated where the partisan respondents were headed. Early in the cycle, Sen. Sinema seemed to be drawing more Republicans to her column than Democrats. According to the Noble data, that has now changed.

Though the Emerson and Noble results produced similar numbers, the two are considerably different in their party division reporting. Where Emerson found Sinema attracting only 30% of the Independent vote, Noble sees her with considerably more support at 38 percent. She also gets 23% of Democrats and 19% of Republicans according to the latter pollster.

To win, Sinema must obtain the lion’s share of the 31% of Independents who are undecided while increasing both her standing among Democrats, in particular, and Republicans.

It is probably unrealistic to believe that she can do much better among the partisan voters than this data currently suggests, but she will have to find a way to boost her numbers at least slightly within the partisan voter universe while maximizing her backing from Independent voters.

These polls conclude that the Arizona Senate race is a legitimate three-way contest where each of the candidates can forge a victory path, even though the winner will probably attract less than 40% of the vote. Therefore, we can expect a political dogfight to unfold in this desert political setting, even though predicting a victor can be done only with the highest degree of uncertainty.

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