Kyrsten Sinema; Martha McSally (AP/Ross D. Franklin/Matt York)

Arizona Senate race: Democrat Kyrsten Sinema posts lead over GOP's Martha McSally in latest poll

Those numbers could reflect the fact that a majority of Arizona voters disapprove of how Trump is handling his job


Shira Tarlo
September 25, 2018 9:10PM (UTC)

Kyrsten Sinema holds a slight advantage in the race to become the next U.S. Senator in the historically red state of Arizona, according to the results of a NBC News/Marist College poll released Tuesday.

The survey reveals that Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) tops Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) by three points — 48 percent to 45 percent among likely Arizona voters and a similar 47 percent to 44 percent among registered voters.

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Likely and registered voters were asked who they would cast their ballot for if the election for U.S. Senate in Arizona were held today. Of those likely voters, seven percent said they did not know who they would pick. Nine percent of registered voters said they do not know who they would choose.

The slight advantage for Sinema in the race to fill Flake's seat could partly reflect the fact that a majority of Arizona voters disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job as president, according to the poll. Midterm cycles are largely considered referendums on the current White House occupant, and among likely voters, 44 percent approve of the job Trump is doing while 51 percent disapprove. Among all Arizona adults, 39 percent approve, and 50 percent disapprove.

When Green Party nominee Angela Green is included as an option on the Senate ballot, Sinema's lead with likely voters drops to 45 percent to McSally's 43 percent, with Green garnering the support of six percent of voters.

Sinema also leads McSally in positive favorability. The Democratic candidate has a positive 46 favorable to 33 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters, with 21 percent unsure, while her Republican rival's favorability rating among likely voters is split 40 favorable to 42 percent unfavorable, with 18 percent unsure.

With just 42 days to go until ballots are cast in the 2018 midterm elections, 47 percent of likely voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress versus 44 percent who want the Republicans in charge.

Meanwhile, 52 percent to 38 percent of likely voters say their message in November will be for more Democrats to serve as a check and balance to Trump and congressional Republicans versus Republicans who would help the president and the GOP pass their agenda.

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While the Senate race is locked in a dead heat, incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey posts a solid lead in the state's gubernatorial race over David Garcia, his Democratic challenger, by eight points — 51 to 43 percent among likely voters and by a similar 51 percent to 42 percent among registered voters.

Ducey also leads Garcia in positive favorability, although both candidates are viewed more favorably than unfavorably. The Republican candidate has a positive 51 favorable to 39 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters, with 11 percent unsure, while the Democrat has a positive 42 to 35 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters, with 24 percent unsure.

The survey also asked voters about key issues that may factor into their vote for Congress in November. Likely voters said the issues they care most about are immigration (23 percent); healthcare (22 percent) and the economy and jobs (21 percent).

The NBC News/Marist College poll of 950 adults in Arizona was conducted Sept. 16 through Sept. 20. The margin of error for total respondents in Arizona is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. For results among 763 registered voters, it is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points; and for results among 564 likely voters it is plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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