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Paul Penzone-backed poll claims he leads Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County sheriff race

PHOENIX — A poll sponsored by Paul Penzone’s campaign said he holds a four-point lead over Joe Arpaio in the race for Maricopa County sheriff.

The poll from Strategies 360 shows Penzone, a Democrat, with a 48 to 44 percent lead over the sitting Republican sheriff. Penzone’s lead falls within the poll’s margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Eight percent of voters are undecided.

KTAR political expert Mike O’Neil said he keeps a poll like this at arm’s length because it came from one of the campaigns.

However, he did say that Arpaio’s legal challenges could hurt him with undecided and easily persuadable voters in November.

O’Neil said most voters have already made up their minds, but that small block of undecided voters could make the difference.

“[Arpaio’s] supporters, his strong supporters, are immune to almost anything, as a means of persuasion,” O’Neil said. “The issue [for Arpaio] is the relatively small numbers of people who are waffling a little bit. If there’s going to be an impact, that’s where it’s going to be.”

Arpaio is currently facing civil contempt of court in a racial profiling case, with the possibility of being referred by a federal judge for a criminal case.

O’Neil said one thing that could hurt Penzone is an independent, third-party, anti-Arpaio candidate.

Penzone lost to Arpaio by six points in 2012.

The poll was conducted between June 6 and June 12..

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