Poll shows Arizona moderates edging away from red as primary nears
PHOENIX — Moderate voters in Arizona continue to inch away from Republican concerns and more toward Democratic preferences as the primary election draws closer, according to a poll of likely voters.
An OH Predictive Insights/ABC15 poll released Wednesday showed that when asked who they would vote for on a congressional ballot, Republicans had a narrow lead over Democrats, 43 percent to 40. That was down from the 2016 elections, when Republicans won the state’s U.S. House seats, 52.5 percent to 43 percent.
Democrats have not won a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona since 1988.
In the 2014 midterm elections, the GOP won the Arizona’s U.S. House seats 55.7 percent to 39.4 percent.
“Arizona moderates are basically Democrats,” chief pollster Mike Noble told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
He pointed to the top issues in the state — immigration and education — as the main indicator.
“If you were to look at immigration, it is a top issue among Republicans, and then education is a top issue among liberals,” Noble said.
Nearly half the moderates (45 percent) identified education as the No. 1 issue and only 8 percent named immigration.
“Those aren’t moderates — those are liberals,” he said.
Still, overall only 15 percent identified as moderate. Conservatives took up 49 percent and 35 percent leaned in the liberal direction.
Kayleigh McEnany, spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, said the GOP wasn’t being complacent but felt confident in its chances in Arizona.
“We think when the time comes, as we get closer to November, the polls will narrow,” she told Arizona’s Morning News. “You look around, and the economy tends to be the issue most important to voters, and it’s soaring.”
A general election poll last week showed that Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) led U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) in a potential match-up for Jeff Flake’s federal Senate seat.
“Conservatives still make up half of Arizona, but moderates have the power to turn Arizona from a red state into a purple one,” Noah Rudnick, a data analyst with OH Predictive Insights, said in a statement.
McSally remained the GOP front-runner in the primary over opponents Dr. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted July 23-24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
The Arizona primary will be held Aug. 28 and the general election Nov. 6.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.