Secretary of State Primary Largely Unsettled
PHOENIX (September 28, 2021)- The 2022 general election may be 406 days away, but we are beginning to get a clearer look at just who will be competing in some of Arizona’s top races. According to OH Predictive Insights’ (OHPI) latest Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) survey, each party has a leading candidate for next year’s gubernatorial election, but meaningful shares of the electorate are still undecided.
This AZPOP was conducted September 7th – September 12th, 2021 and surveyed 882 registered voters in Arizona and had a margin of error of +/- 3.3%.
Republican Governor Doug Ducey is unable to run for a third term due to term limits, which means Arizona voters will be tasked with electing his successor next November. But before they can do that, each party must first choose its nominee.
Six major Republicans have jumped into the GOP’s Governor’s Primary to date, but our survey finds only one candidate with double-digit support from GOP primary voters: former FOX 10 News anchor Kari Lake, who currently enjoys the support of 25% of Republican primary voters. Former U.S. Representative Matt Salmon, who represented the East Valley for over two decades and was the party’s gubernatorial nominee in the 2002 election, is in a distant second place with 9%. State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, the state’s first Asian-American statewide elected official, is at 6%. All other candidates are at 5% or less, while more than half (53%) of GOP primary voters have yet to commit to a candidate.
Meanwhile in the Democratic Governor’s Primary, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs remains in the driver’s seat: 40% of Democratic voters say that they plan to support Hobbs in the primary. Two other candidates – former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez and former State Representative Aaron Lieberman – are challenging Hobbs for the Democratic nomination. They are currently polling at 10% and 8%, respectively.
But while both parties appear to have frontrunners in their primary, voters are largely split when asked which party they would like to control the governor’s office: 39% say they would vote for the Republican nominee in the general election, 36% say they would vote for the Democratic nominee, and 25% are unsure.
“In the ramp-up to the Governor’s race, the leading Republican and Democratic candidates’ first hurdle is to cross the 50% threshold and hold that support until next November,” said Mike Noble, OHPI Chief of Research. “However, with such a split in voters’ preference for a Republican or Democratic candidate, winning over Arizona’s fast-growing Independents will be key to securing the majority vote for Governor.”
As has been the case in recent Arizona elections, candidates and outside groups from both parties are going to blanket the Arizona airwaves with advertisements trying to sway the evenly split Governor’s race. AdImpact, a group that tracks spending on political advertisements, has projected that $168 million will be spent in Arizona on the gubernatorial race alone. This eye-wateringly high number makes the race to replace Governor Ducey the 2nd most expensive gubernatorial campaign in the country next year (Georgia is projected to be the most expensive at $235 million).
Secretary of State
Though the Secretary of State has become one of the most prominent elected offices in the state, the 2022 election to replace Secretary Hobbs has so far turned out to be a snooze-fest as voters have yet to pay more attention to down-ballot elections.
In the Republican Primary for Secretary of State, a whopping three quarters are unsure which candidate they will support when they choose a nominee in August next year. The GOP Primary so far includes three state legislators: State Representatives Shawnna Bolick and Mark Finchem, and State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita. Though the field is largely muddled, Finchem is currently polling the highest with 11% support, followed by Ugenti-Rita’s 8% and Bolick’s 7%.
Note: Mark Finchem was endorsed by Donald Trump in the Republican Primary for Arizona Secretary of State on Monday, September 13th, 2021. This survey was in the field until Sunday, September 12th, so any effect the former-President’s endorsement may have had will not be represented these numbers.
The two-candidate Democratic Primary could also be very volatile: 3 in 5 Democrats have not yet decided who they will support. Former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is currently polling at 22%, followed by State Representative Reginald Bolding’s 17%.
Much like the Governor’s race, voters are split on which party they will support in the general election for Secretary of State. The survey found that 37% of voters say they plan to support the Republican nominee, 34% plan on supporting the Democratic nominee, and 28% are unsure which party they will support.
“With well over half of each party’s electorate yet to make up their minds, Fontes’ and Finchem’s slight leads are statistically meaningless,” said Jacob Joss, Data Analyst at OHPI. “But, with less than a year until the Secretary of State primaries, candidates would be wise to optimize their campaign resources to start chipping away at these large chunks of undecideds.”
Methodology: This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights from September 7 to September 12, 2021, from an Arizona Statewide Registered Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect the registered voter population by gender, region, age, ethnicity, and education according to a recent voter file derived from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office and recent Census data. The sample size was 882 registered voters in Arizona, with a MoE of ± 3.3%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.
About OH Predictive Insights: As a non-partisan market research, predictive analytics, and public opinion polling firm, Arizona-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics, and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling, and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights serves political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing with key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 480-313-1837 or submit a request online at OHPredictive.com.