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Poll puts McSally ahead of Arpaio, Ward in Senate primary

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — A new poll showed Congresswoman Martha McSally has pulled ahead of former sheriff Joe Arpaio in the primary race for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat.

McSally grabbed 31 percent to Arpaio’s 22 percent from 500 likely Republican voters in the phone poll conducted by Phoenix-area Data Orbital.

The former combat pilot from Tucson and Arpaio, who was sheriff of Maricopa County for more than two decades, declared their intentions to run for the seat last week.

Former state Sen. Kelli Ward of Lake Havasu City pulled in 19 percent.

Arpaio announced he was running Jan. 9 and in another poll, immediately pulled ahead of longtime candidate Ward into a tie with McSally, who was days away from officially launching her campaign.

Ward has been campaigning since October 2016.

“We have been tracking the race from the beginning and have seen numbers drastically fluctuate with each announcement,” Data Orbital pollster George Khalaf said.

“With a little more than eight months to go, this race is long from over but Congresswoman McSally seems to be out of the gate as an early leader.”

Respondents — men and women — described themselves as strong Republican, somewhat strong Republican, Republican-leaning independent or independent.

Age groups were 18-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65 and older. More than half the respondents were 65 and older.

Nearly 61 percent said they were extremely motivated to vote.

McSally fared best closest to home — Pima County and a handful of southern Arizona counties.

The live-caller survey of 500 likely primary election voters has a 4.38 percent margin of error plus or minus.

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