Kelly leads McSally in Arizona Senate race: poll

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D) leads Sen. Martha McSally (R) by a narrow 3-point margin in Arizona, a state critical to Democratic chances of recapturing the Senate in the 2020 elections, according to a new poll.
A poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights shows Kelly leading McSally by a 47 percent to 44 percent margin, fueled by a substantial gender gap. Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), leads among women by a 53 percent to 38 percent margin, while McSally leads among men by a smaller 51 percent to 41 percent margin.
Kelly holds a 10-point lead in Maricopa County, which contributes about 60 percent of the statewide vote. Only one statewide candidate in recent memory has won Arizona without carrying Maricopa. He leads among independent voters by a 51 percent to 37 percent margin.
McSally, meanwhile, holds a substantial 22-point advantage in the state’s rural communities. She leads Kelly among white voters by a single point, but he holds an overwhelming 58 percent to 32 percent edge among Hispanic voters, the poll shows.
Kelly’s edge is slightly lower than the 5-point advantage he held in August, the last time OH Predictive Insights measured the race. Mike Noble, the company’s lead pollster, said that shows McSally has “stopped the bleeding.”
“Part of it may be due to the current impeachment proceedings, which have given the president and Republicans nationally a bit of a boost. We’re seeing that in Arizona as well,” Noble said.
Even a year before Election Day, voters appear to be following the race closely.
Just 6 percent of voters have no opinion about or have never heard of McSally, while more than a quarter, 27 percent, said the same about Kelly. Forty-six percent of voters see McSally favorably, while 47 percent see her in an unfavorable light.
“She is incredibly defined,” Noble said. “People are really fully decided on her. But Kelly, he’s not as fully defined with some of these groups.”
The poll hints that Arizona is likely to be a crucial battleground state in next year’s presidential contest, too.
President Trump’s approval rating stands at 48 percent, according to the poll, while 50 percent say they disapprove of the job he has done in office. Fifty-eight percent of independent voters and 55 percent of those in Maricopa County disapprove. 
Republicans currently have a three-seat edge in the Senate, 53-47. While the GOP is defending nearly twice as many seats as Democrats in the 2020 elections, most Republicans up for reelection are from states Trump carried in the 2016 election.
The OH Predictive Insights survey of 628 likely voters was conducted Dec. 3–4 and has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

– This story was updated at 3:53 p.m. to correctly identify Kelly as leading among Hispanic voters
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