Updated: Oct 23
Sinema’s Independent Status is the Real Wild Card
PHOENIX (February 16th, 2023)- The 2024 Senate election is inching closer and the race for Arizona’s Senate seat is wide open. According to O.H. Predictive Insights’ (OHPI) latest Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) survey, Ruben Gallego is the most popular listed (potential) candidate in the upcoming 2024 U.S. Senate election – Arizona’s fifth Senate election in five cycles. This AZPOP, conducted from January 31 – February 9, 2023, surveyed 1,000 registered voters in Arizona and had a margin of error of ± 3.1%. Head-to-Heads Ruben Gallego is leading all his potential competitors (a good sign for Gallego) but in no matchup does he exceed the 50% mark (a good sign for the GOP and Kyrsten Sinema).
This far ahead of the 2024 U.S. Senate elections, a temperature check on Arizona’s electorate is useful in determining the best-case scenario for each potential candidate before the race truly begins to take shape. As of now, Ruben Gallego’s best bet would be the GOP nominating a Trump-style Republican and Kyrsten Sinema opting out of the race. However, if Republicans nominate a more moderate candidate, Republicans will be in a better position for a more competitive race with Sinema on the ticket. If Sinema is not in the race, there is a difference between a more moderate Republican such as Ducey or Taylor Robson and a more Trump-style candidate like Masters or Lake when matching up against Gallego.
Sinema stands a better chance if Gallego does not run. However, assuming that is not likely, her best bet is that Ducey opts out of the race. Regardless, as the Arizona electorate stands now, it’s going to be an uphill climb for Sinema.
The best-case scenario for Trump-style Republicans is having Sinema on the ticket. For Ducey-style Republicans, their best bet is Sinema not running.
“What I take away from this data is that the two key factors in this Senate race will be the ‘style’ of Republican nominated to run and whether Sinema is also on the ballot,” said Mike Noble, OHPI Chief of Research. “But, there’s a long time between now and election day, which leaves plenty of opportunity for something to happen that can shift the dynamics of this race.”
Favorability In terms of favorability, Ruben Gallego is the only potential candidate to receive a positive net favorability rating from voters. Gallego, unlike many of his potential contenders, is most popular among voters 55+, college graduates, and parents.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who recently left the Democratic party and registered as an Independent, remains more popular with Republicans (net favorability -4) than she is with Democrats (net -19).
In the now-established battleground state of Arizona, Independent voters are irrefutably a catalyst in elections. Gallego’s net favorability with Independents (+6) is the highest of any of the potential candidates tested. Similarly, Gallego outshines among Hispanic/Latinos with a net favorability of +18 with this group. The advantage among these key groups is a significant and telling factor for the progression of the upcoming race; Independents and Hispanic/Latinos have proven to be among the most impactful and growing groups of voters in recent elections.
According to the January 2023 State of Arizona Voter Registration Report from the Arizona Secretary of State, there are about 3.5% more Independent (labeled “Other”) registered voters than there are Democrats in Arizona, and less than 1% more Republicans than Independents.
Lake’s image among Independents has worsened since our September AZPOP when her net favorability among Independents was -15, a 21-point shift in the wrong direction. It’s a similar story with Masters, who had a negative 15-point shift in net favorability from September to February among Independent voters.
“Since the midterms, Lake and Masters’ images have taken a real hit among the all-important Independent voters,” said Mike Noble, OHPI Chief of Research. “Being well-liked is truly half the battle, but the best bet for any potential candidate to stay competitive in the coming election is to continue capturing more support from Arizona’s influential Independents.”
Methodology: This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by O.H. Predictive Insights from January 31st, 2023 – February 9th, 2023 from an Arizona Statewide Registered Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education. The sample size was 1,000 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 3.1%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding. Media Contacts: Veronica Sutliff, OH Predictive Insights, firstname.lastname@example.org, (602) 390-5248 Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights, email@example.com, (480) 313-1837 About OH Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan public opinion polling, market research, and data analytics firm, OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics, and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike looking to improve their footing with key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call (602) 362-5694 or submit a request online at OHPredictive.com.