Kelly extends lead over McSally in Arizona’s US Senate race, poll finds

Mar 11, 2020, 11:20 AM | Updated: 1:10 pm
martha mcsally mark kelly...
(Getty Images Photos)
(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX – Incumbent Republican Martha McSally is losing ground to Democratic challenger Mark Kelly in Arizona’s closely watched 2020 U.S. Senate race, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Kelly held a 49%-42% lead, upping his lead to 7 percentage points, Phoenix-based research firm OH Predictive Insights found.

The poll of 600 likely Arizona voters was conducted March 3-4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. Eight percent of respondents remained undecided.

OH Predictive Insights had Kelly leading by 3 percentage points, 47%-44%, in its last quarterly poll on the race, which was conducted in December.

Democrats are targeting McSally’s seat, which was formerly held by the late John McCain, as a key prize in their attempt to build a Senate majority.

The November election is for the remainder of McCain’s term, which runs through 2022.

McSally was appointed to the seat by Gov. Doug Ducey in December 2018, a month after McSally lost the race for Arizona’s other Senate seat to Kyrsten Sinema.

“The battle for the control of the Senate chamber may very well come down to historically ruby red Arizona,” Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights chief of research and managing partner, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Noble said Kelly’s relative lack of name recognition presents an opportunity for McSally to make up ground.

“A quarter of likely voters do not have an opinion of Mark Kelly, giving Team McSally an opening to define the first-time candidate,” Noble said.

Kelly, however, has been gaining support among older voters, traditionally a group that favors Republicans.

He pulled even with McSally among men 55 and older and led among women in that age group by 7 percentage points.

In the December poll, McSally led among older men by 12 percentage points.

While Arizona voters in both parties are largely sticking with their team, independents are leaning toward Kelly by a hefty 58%-29% margin.

The new poll had a bottom line similar to a February poll by a different firm, HighGround Public Affairs, that showed Kelly with a 46%-39.3% lead.

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Kelly extends lead over McSally in Arizona’s US Senate race, poll finds