Sinema trails potential primary challengers in progressive poll

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) leaves a Senate Democratic luncheon on Thursday, October 7, 2021. The Senate have a deal to raise the debt ceiling until December.
Greg Nash

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) would face an uphill battle against several potential primary challengers, according to a new survey from the progressive polling firm Data for Progress

The poll of likely Democratic primary voters in Arizona tested Sinema in hypothetical match-ups with four potential challengers: Rep. Ruben Gallego, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Rep. Greg Stanton and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. In a five-way race, the poll found, Ruben Gallego would beat out Sinema, 23 percent to 19 percent.

Stanton, meanwhile, garnered 13 percent in the five-way match-up, while both Kate Gallego and Romero notched 9 percent support each. 

In a scenario in which Ruben Gallego emerged as Sinema’s sole primary challenger, he would garner 62 percent of the vote to Sinema’s 23 percent, according to the poll. 

Similarly, Kate Gallego would beat Sinema 60 percent to 25 percent in a head-to-head match-up, Stanton would win 59 percent to 24 percent and Romero would lead Sinema 55 percent to 25 percent, the Data for Progress poll found. 

The survey, which was conducted from Oct. 8 to 10, underscores the growing frustration with Sinema among the Democratic base over her opposition to key parts of her party’s legislative priorities. She’s one of two Senate Democrats holding up a $3.5 trillion social policy and climate change bill that lies at the center of President Biden’s agenda.

That frustration reached a boiling point earlier this month as Democratic activists began laying the groundwork for a potential primary challenge to Sinema, who’s not up for reelection until 2024. 

One such effort, a political action committee called Primary Sinema, has said that it will raise money for grassroots groups that could recruit a primary challenger in the coming years. Another campaign is seeking to draft Ruben Gallego into the 2024 race.

The Data for Progress poll released on Thursday also showed Sinema’s favorability among prospective primary voters in her state in free fall, at just 24 percent. Meanwhile, a staggering 70 percent reported an unfavorable opinion of the first-term senator.

Those numbers stand in stark contrast to those of Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Arizona’s junior senator who was elected just last year. Eighty-five percent of potential primary voters say they have a favorable view of Kelly, while only 11 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of him.

The Data for Progress poll surveyed 467 likely Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Tags 2024 election Arizona politics Arizona primary Greg Stanton Joe Biden Kate Gallego Kyrsten Sinema Mark Kelly reconciliation bill Regina Romero Ruben Gallego
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