McSally gaining ground on Kelly in Arizona Senate race: poll

Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTumultuous court battle upends fight for Senate Grassley, Ernst pledge to 'evaluate' Trump's Supreme Court nominee The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden goes on offense MORE (R-Ariz.) is closing in on her Democratic challenger, former astronaut Mark Kelly, in Arizona’s hotly contested Senate race, according to a new Arizona Public Opinion Pulse survey released on Tuesday.

The poll, conducted by Phoenix-based firm OH Predictive Insights, shows Kelly garnering 48 percent of the vote to McSally’s 43 percent. For Kelly, that represents a 4-point drop-off in support among likely voters since last month. McSally’s support, meanwhile, remained unchanged. 

McSally is among the most vulnerable GOP Senate incumbents facing reelection this year, and virtually every recent public poll shows her trailing Kelly in the race to defend her seat. One survey released last week by the left-leaning Data for Progress showed Kelly with a 10-point advantage over McSally.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the OH Predictive Insights poll suggests that McSally has improved her standing in the race in recent months. Another survey from the firm conducted in May put Kelly ahead by a staggering 13-point margin.

Among independent voters in Arizona, Kelly still maintains a significant lead, garnering 47 percent support to McSally’s 34 percent. But that 13-point margin is down from a 27-point spread in July, when Kelly captured the support of 57 percent of independents and McSally took only 32 percent.

At the same time, the percentage of independent voters who are unsure of whom they will vote for in November rose from 8 percent in July to 15 percent this month. Jacob Joss, a data analyst at OH Predictive Insights, said that McSally may have a shot of holding on to her seat in November if current trends hold. 

“If McSally continues on her current flight path, she has a shot at winning this election,” Joss said.

McSally’s seat is one of Senate Democrats’ top electoral targets this year, along with seats in Colorado, Maine and North Carolina. Democrats are also eyeing increasingly competitive Senate races in Montana, Iowa and Georgia and believe that seats in Alaska and Texas may also be in play in November.

ADVERTISEMENT

But McSally is in a particularly vulnerable position. She previously lost a 2018 Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema before Arizona Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyReplacing Justice Ginsburg could depend on Arizona's next senator Kelly's lead widens to 10 points in Arizona Senate race: poll Polls show trust in scientific, political institutions eroding MORE (R) appointed her to temporarily fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain endorses Biden: He's only candidate 'who stands up for our values' Biden says Cindy McCain will endorse him Biden's six best bets in 2016 Trump states MORE’s (R-Ariz.) seat.

Kelly has proven himself to be among the top Democratic fundraisers of the 2020 election cycle. He raked in nearly $12.8 million in the second quarter of the year, and his most recent Federal Election Commission filing shows him with a more than 2-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over McSally.

McSally is currently the only GOP Senate incumbent to find her seat in The Cook Political Report’s "lean Democrat" column

But Republicans say that the Arizona Senate race is not a foregone conclusion. They have aggressively sought to weaken Kelly with attacks on his business record and investments, while also seeking to tie him to more progressive figures within the Democratic Party.  

The Arizona Public Opinion Pulse survey from OH Predictive Insights was fielded from Aug. 3 to 4 and is based on responses from 603 likely Arizona voters. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.