Kari Lake, Katie Hobbs are early front-runners for Arizona governor, poll finds

Aug 2, 2021, 4:25 AM | Updated: 12:32 pm
(Facebook Photo/The Kari Lake, AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(Facebook Photo/The Kari Lake, AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(Facebook Photo/The Kari Lake, AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The race for the governor’s office in Arizona is starting to heat up, with recent polling finding that Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs are early front-runners for their respective parties.

A survey conducted by OH Predictive Insights early last month of registered voters in the state found 63% of Arizona Democrats have favorable opinions of Hobbs, while 60% of Republicans have favorable opinions of Lake.

Lake, a former Valley TV anchor, holds a lead over former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon (51%) and Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee (49%) in the Republican field.

Less than half of GOP voters had formed an opinion on Karrin Taylor Robson and Steve Gaynor. Blake Masters had yet to announce his candidacy when the survey was conducted and was not included in the questions.

“It turns out Kari Lake’s decades of being on local television, Matt Salmon’s decades of experience in Arizona politics, and Kimberly Yee’s status as a current statewide officeholder have been major benefits to their name ID,” OHPI Data Analyst Jacob Joss said in a press release.

Hobbs, the state’s secretary of state, is followed in Democratic favorability by former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez (44%) and Arizona Rep. Aaron Lieberman (41%).

The general election is shaping up to be a tight race. Hobbs leads the way with favorable opinions from 40% of all registered voters, according to the poll, followed by Lake at 39%, Yee at 32% and Salmon at 31%.

The candidates are vying to take the office held by Republican Doug Ducey, who can’t run for reelection due to term limits.

The Republican party has a slight lead on which party voters prefer to run the state (43% to 42%), according to the survey.

That falls in line with the quarterly voter registration report released on Thursday that shows there are slightly more active voters who identify as Republican (34.72%) than Democrat (31.82%).

Both those numbers are similar to the reports released in January and April.

Despite Republicans holding the majority, Arizona shifted into toss-up territory during the 2020 election with Democratic president Joe Biden becoming the first Democrat to win the traditionally-red state since Bill Clinton in 1996.

Meanwhile, Democrat Mark Kelly beat Republican incumbent Martha McSally to give the state two Democratic senators for the first time in almost 70 years.

Kelly is finishing out the term of the late Sen. John McCain that began in 2016 and will be back on the November 2022 ballot looking to keep his seat.

The survey found Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich leads the Republican field in an attempt to unseat Kelly, with a total favorability rating of 61% compared to the former leader of the Arizona National Guard Michael McGuire’s 43% and solar power company executive Jim Lamon’s 39%.

Kelly holds the highest favorability among the candidates at 50%, according to the survey, but also has the highest unfavorable numbers at 40%.

“Although Mark Kelly is not in as safe as a position as he might like, with more than one year until the general election and an enormous campaign war chest, he has the time and resources to improve his numbers – or damage his opponents,” Joss said.

There wasn’t much to report on the secretary of state race to replace Hobbs as candidates for each party haven’t stood out from the pack at this point in the race, according to the release.

“This far out from Election Day, the secretary of state’s race is a bit of a snooze-fest, to use a technical term,” Joss said.

“While the big-ticket governor and senate races are getting some attention, voters just haven’t given much thought to down-ballot races.”

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Kari Lake, Katie Hobbs are early front-runners for Arizona governor, poll finds