Internal poll: Babeu opens with commanding lead

Paul Babeu

Just two days into his campaign for Congressional District 1, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu boasts a substantial lead against his competitors according to an internal poll released Thursday.

The poll, conducted Wednesday, surveyed 484 Republican primary voters. Babeu was the choice of 43 percent of respondents. Former Secretary of State Ken Bennett garnered 11 percent while businessman Gary Kiehne received support from 9 percent of respondents. Businessman Shawn Redd and House Speaker David Gowan followed with 2 percent each. A third of voters were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 4.45 percent.

After a high profile campaign rollout, the poll also found Republicans overwhelmingly approve of Paul Babeu. Sixty-eight percent viewed Babeu somewhat or very favorably. Just 14 percent saw him in an unfavorable light. And only 18 percent had no opinion.

When it comes to issues that are important to voters, immigration led the way. Nearly a third of respondents said immigration and border security was their No. 1 issue. Another 20 percent said the economy and budget issues were a top issue. Defense and veterans issues were the top concerns of 11 percent of respondents. Nine percent of voters said gun and property rights and another 9 percent said values and marriage were the most important issue.

“Paul Babeu is well-known in the district having served seven years as Pinal County sheriff and appearing on numerous local and national news programs,” campaign spokesman Barrett Marson said. “This poll shows he’s not only well known but he is liked throughout the district and is positioned to take the Republican primary in August.”

Paul Babeu, 46, was first elected Pinal County Sheriff in 2008 and was voted by his peers as the 2011 Sheriff of the Year. A 20-year veteran of the Army National Guard, he served in the Iraq War and commanded 700 men in the Yuma Sector during Operation Jumpstart.

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