Poll: Sinema leads GOP candidates in Arizona Senate race

Poll: Sinema leads GOP candidates in Arizona Senate race
© Greg Nash

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is leading all Republican candidates in head-to-head match-ups in the Arizona Senate race, according to a poll released Thursday.

A poll from OH Predictive Insights (OHPI) and ABC15 Arizona found that Sinema leads Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Senate passes infrastructure bill, budget resolution; Cuomo resigns Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up GOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster MORE (R) by 6 points, 48 to 42 percent. Sinema’s margin increases by double digits when pitted against former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R). She leads Ward, 50 to 40 percent, and Arpaio, 59 to 33 percent.

Arizona is one of Democrats’ two best pickup opportunities this cycle. Sinema, who’s expected to cruise to the Democratic nomination, is vying for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.). Republicans, meanwhile, are facing a three-way primary that is still wide open. 

Sinema’s dominance among independent voters gives her a major boost in all three head-to-heads with Republicans. Sinema leads with independents by more than 60 percent in her match-ups against McSally and Ward and 76 percent when facing Arpaio.

That can likely be attributed to the fact that President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE’s favorability is underwater among independent voters, with only 25 percent of those voters viewing him favorably and 74 percent viewing him unfavorably.

Those numbers slightly improve among all voters, with 43 percent viewing Trump favorably, compared to 56 percent who view him unfavorably.

“The issue we are consistently seeing in the numbers is that Democrats are unified, Republicans are less united, and the all-important Independent voters are trending anti-Republican/Trump” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights.

“The factors to look for will be if there are enough voters that do not view Trump favorably that still vote the Republican Party and whether or not the winning GOP primary candidate tries to or is able to create a distinct identity.”

The contested GOP primary has drastically shifted since OHPI/ABC15’s poll from January, which was right around the time both Arpaio and McSally announced their campaigns.

Ward jumped into first place in Thursday's poll with 36 percent, with McSally in second at 27 and Arpaio in third at 22 percent. Fifteen percent of GOP primary voters are undecided.

That’s a big decline for both Arpaio and McSally, who were statistically tied in the January poll. In that poll, Ward came in third place.

The new poll also shows a much different landscape of the GOP primary compared to another survey released two days ago. Magellan Strategies poll from Tuesday found McSally in first place with 36 percent, followed by Arpaio at 26 percent and Ward at 25 percent.

In the OHPI/ABC15 poll, Arpaio has nearly universal name ID, while Ward, McSally and Sinema all have similar name recognition, under 70 percent. Sinema is the only one with a positive favorability rating.

Thursday’s poll was conducted from April 10-11 and surveyed 600 likely general election voters via cellphone and landline. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.

For the GOP primary question, 302 likely primary voters were surveyed, and the margin of error was 5.64 percentage points.