Campaign

Poll: Sinema approval higher among Arizona Republicans than Democrats

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is seen more favorably by Republicans in her home state than by members of her own party as she emerges as a crucial obstacle to Senate Democrats’ push to overhaul voting rights by eliminating the filibuster.

New polling from OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based nonpartisan pollster, finds 44 percent of Arizona Republican voters surveyed said they see Sinema favorably, compared with just 42 percent of Arizona’s Democratic voters.

By contrast, nearly 3 in 4 Democrats polled — 74 percent — said they view Sen. Mark Kelly (D) favorably, the poll found. At the same time, only 21 percent of Republican voters view Kelly, who is up for reelection later this year, in a favorable light.

A Sinema spokeswoman declined to comment on the poll’s results.

The 30-point gap between Kelly’s ratings and Sinema’s numbers with members of their own party is surprising in a state where they are the first two members of their party to hold Senate seats in a generation — but it may be less surprising in Arizona itself, where senators have often had a contentious relationship with voters who are supposed to make up their base.

“She’s looking more and more like a Democratic version of John McCain than a traditional Democrat,” Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insight’s chief pollster, said of Sinema.

McCain, whose seat Kelly now holds, often found himself battling with his own party, which voted to censure him over his vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. State Republicans also chafed at Sen. Jeff Flake (R), whose seat Sinema now holds, for his vocal outrage at then-President Trump’s behavior in office.

Overall, just 39 percent of Arizona voters in the poll said they view Sinema favorably, including 30 percent of independent voters, while 48 percent view her unfavorably. In Kelly’s case, 45 percent view him favorably and 44 percent see him unfavorably. Independents are evenly divided on Kelly’s image, at 42 percent apiece.

Sinema’s approval ratings have sagged among Arizona Democrats this year as she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have become the key hurdles to implementing voting rights reforms and the Build Back Better reconciliation measure. OH Predictive Insights found Sinema’s favorable rating among Democrats at 54 percent in May 2021, and at 42 percent in a November survey. Her unfavorable rating has ticked up 1 percentage point among Democrats since November, from 47 percent to 48 percent.

As Sinema has grown to become a political lightening rod, Arizona progressives have increasingly pushed Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) to consider challenging her in the 2022 Democratic primary. Gallego recently met with donors in New York City to discuss the prospect of mounting a race.

The OH Predictive Insights survey was conducted Jan. 11-13 among 855 registered voters, for an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The margin of error among subgroups of Democratic, Republican and independent voters is higher.

Campaign