Arizona special election in dead heat: poll

The special election for an Arizona House seat is in a statistical dead heat in the final week of the race, according to a poll released on Monday.

A poll from Emerson College found physician Hiral Tipirneni (D) narrowly leading with 46 percent, compared to former state Sen. Debbie Lesko (R), who is at 45 percent — well within the poll’s margin of error.

Monday’s poll is an outlier and a huge swing in the direction toward Democrats, with other recent polling showing Lesko winning by double-digit margins. The latest public poll on Friday from OH Predictive Insights and ABC 15 Arizona found Lesko leading by 10 points, 53 to 43 percent.

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Arizona’s special election has captivated national attention, with Republican groups pouring more resources into a district that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE won by 21 points in 2016. The winner of the April 24 race will replace former Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain MORE (R), who resigned after reportedly discussing paying a staffer to act as a surrogate mother.

Democrats have been overperforming in deep-red districts, most recently when they pulled off a significant upset victory in a Pennsylvania district that similarly went for Trump by 20 points.

The survey found that Hiral, a first-time candidate, leads among independents, 42 to 28 percent. And she has a positive favorability rating, with 49 percent who view her favorably, compared to 29 percent who view her unfavorably.

Forty-three percent of voters view Lesko favorably, compared to 45 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of her. An Emerson College pollster said that Franks could be a drag on Lesko’s campaign. The former congressman donated $2,700 to Lesko, according to The Arizona Republic.

The poll found that Franks, who resigned late last year, has an underwater favorability rating, with 24 percent approving compared to 49 percent disapproving.

Still, the survey found that there’s more enthusiasm on the Republican side. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans consider themselves excited to vote, compared to 52 percent of Democrats.

That’s good news for Republicans in a district where the party has a 17-point voter registration advantage. The demographics of the 8th District trend toward the party — it's overwhelmingly white, and 45 percent of the voting-age population is 55 or older.

The poll, which was conducted from Thursday to Sunday, surveyed 400 registered voters through landline calls and online. The margin of error was 5.2 percentage points.