Poll: Dangerous Slopes Ahead for the GOP in Arizona

One year into Trump’s Presidency, it’s viewed as Unsuccessful

PHOENIX (November 15, 2017) – We have just passed the one-year mark since President Donald Trump was elected, and a lot has happened… One major event for Arizona was incumbent Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake dropping the bombshell that he will not be seeking re-election.

While we are still one year out from the 2018 General Election we wanted to see where Trump stands with likely voters and evaluate the state of the U.S. Senate race.

As we saw in Virginia, how voters feel about the President can have a huge effect on turnout, and results. In Arizona, the GOP faces some dangerous slopes.

We begin by looking at the top-line results of one particular question:

One of the most important factors in any mid-term election is the voters’ perceived performance of the president affecting down-ballot races.

Currently, more 2018 Arizona voters view Trump’s performance for the first year as unsuccessful.

We conducted a survey of six hundred likely 2018 General Election Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters across Arizona, based on likely 2018 turnout participated in this survey with a +/-4% MOE.

It is important to bear in mind that our likely General Election survey sample has a Republican +12-point advantage over Democrats. Despite the 12-point GOP advantage in the poll, the President’s first year is still viewed as unsuccessful.

Republicans and Democrats are polarized on this question (which is no surprise given the current political climate) however the all-important Independents view his first year as unsuccessful by a staggering 22-point margin.

Also, when it comes to gender, females were in the red by 10 points compared to males who were 3 points in the black.

When that data is graphed, it shows some dangerous slopes for the GOP.

As soon as the question reaches self-described moderates, the President’s numbers go negative and stay that way. That one chart spells a lot of trouble for the GOP – with a 22-point negative among Independents, and a majority of moderate voters viewing the President’s first year negatively, GOP candidates face hard choices: If they distance themselves from the president, they risk losing conservatives; but without moderates and without Independents, it’s hard to see a pathway to victory. Especially, when 40% of the overall sample self-identified as “moderates.”

Now, looking at the personal impact to Arizona voters that Trump’s first year in office and its effects we find a possibly better picture with a +3-point margin for respondents who thought they were better off compared to those who are worse off. But the question becomes, how long will the 28% that say things stayed the same be okay with that? We think it is inarguably true that what propelled Donald Trump into the White House was a desire for change… Yet in our polling, 61% of Arizona likely voters say things are the same or have gotten worse. Bad news if the GOP doesn’t change that perception.

We see similarities between this question and the previous performance question with gender. Males were +11 and females were -7 if they felt they were better off. On a positive note, respondents in rural Arizona are +12 when it comes to being better off although the Arizona rural counties demographically are almost always the most conservative-leaning compared to Pima and Maricopa County.

Moving on, before we get into the head-to-head matchups for the Arizona U.S. Senate Primary and General election, let’s see where the main contenders sit regarding name ID and favorability.

The key findings were among the two Republican challengers regarding party affiliation and geographic location.

·       Kelli Ward has 85% name ID among Republicans; with 59% favorable and 26% unfavorable.

·       Martha McSally has 60% name ID among Republicans; with 48% favorable and 13% unfavorable.

·       Among Independents Kelli Ward has 80% name ID; with 36% favorable and 44% unfavorable.

·       Martha McSally has 56% name ID among Independents with 29% favorable and 27% unfavorable.

Based on geographic location Martha McSally has 97% name ID in Pima County where much of her current congressional district covers although she is far less known in Maricopa county (57%) and rural Arizona (44%).

Arizona’s Maricopa county has almost 2/3rd’s of the 2018 General Election vote but that is also where Kelli Ward is underwater with a 34% favorable / 47% unfavorable rating. Although she performs much stronger in rural Arizona with 45% favorable / 31% unfavorable.

Continuing with the subject of Kelli Ward and Martha McSally, if the election were held today, who would likely Republican primary voters vote for? Don’t worry, we have the answer.

Currently, Ward has an advantage of +7-points over McSally where Ward’s most notable strength derives from males, high school or less education level, rural Arizona, and self-identified “very conservative” voters – basically, Trump’s base.  McSally’s strength lies in self-identified “somewhat conservative” and “moderate” voters and a +30-point advantage in Pima County.

And last, but not least – the U.S. Senate General Election matchups.

Republicans hold a +12 Republican likely voter advantage in the 2018 General Election, and that’s how we conducted this poll, with a +12 Republican advantage.  But in both matchups, the Democrat is winning by a very slim margin. McSally has the best chance being 1-point behind Sinema with Ward close by trailing by 3-points, but they’re both in the margin of error.

So, why is a Democrat leading when Republicans hold a +12 point advantage? The answer is slopes.

Whether it was Ward or McSally against Sinema, support based on political ideology was almost identical for either potential GOP nominee. This chart probably looks familiar because it basically mirrors Trump’s numbers in this lens.

 

Summary: As we start to move into the mid-term elections Trump’s support/approval among Independents is severely lacking; plus, some of his Republican base is still not fully onboard compared to the Democrats who are unified in their disapproval. The Republican primary fight between Congresswoman McSally and former State Senator Kelli Ward is currently in Ward’s favor, however, having campaigned state-wide for the past 3 years it appears she is well defined and may well have hit a ceiling among Arizona voters.

McSally has the advantage of being able to define herself and starts with far less of the negatives Ward currently brings to the table. We will be seeing a very competitive GOP primary and the exact opposite of the Democratic primary where Kyrsten Sinema faces little resistance. With Arizona having a late primary election date the Democrats hold the high ground.

“Republicans on the ticket in traditional ‘toss-up’ or ‘right-leaning’ races should prepare for the fight of their lives come 2018,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “The factors to look at ahead will be whether the U.S. economy is positive or negative and if Trump/Republicans can score major legislative wins on taxes, border security, healthcare or education.”

“Grab your popcorn because the Arizona U.S. Senate will be the race to watch in 2018,” said Noble.

Among the other results:

There are many issues important to Arizona voters however the top 3 issues are education (28%), illegal immigration (27%) and healthcare (24%). These issues will be the driving forces in the 2018 elections due to Arizona’s proximity to the border, uncertainty in health care law and the consistent coverage on our education woes. The biggest takeaway when looking at the demographics of these results was education being the top issue for Independents (38%) and Democrats (41%). The top issue among Republican voters was illegal immigration at 44% while only 14% of Republicans said education was the most pressing issue facing Arizona.

 Methodology: This automated survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights on November 9th, 2017, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, geographic location and gender, however, age leaned heavily towards 55+ respondents due to it being automated. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4%.

The Republican primary matchup question asked Republican/Independent respondents a qualifying question if they were going to vote in the 2018 Arizona Republican primary. 323 passed the qualifying question and we weighted the results for 90% Republican and 10% Independent, with a MoE of ± 5.45%.

Poll: Jeff Flake in Double Jeopardy

High Ground

US Senator Jeff Flake in Double Electoral Jeopardy Twelve Months Away from Primary Election

Republican Party Divided – Provides Opening for Democrats

PHOENIX (August 22, 2017) — A statewide Arizona survey of 400 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows Republican incumbent Senator Jeff Flake twelve points behind his primary Republican opponent Kelli Ward and eight points behind prospective Democratic opponent U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-9).

Q.        If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?

28.2%  Jeff Flake
42.5%  Kelli Ward
5.1%    Some other candidate
24.2%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?

32.5%  Jeff Flake
40.5%  Kyrsten Sinema
27.0%  Don’t know, Refused

The Republican Primary Election sample was of 273 high efficacy Republican and PND/Independent voters and has a margin of error of ±5.93%.  The General Election sample of 400 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.88%.

Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake

“While Election Day may still be more than a year away, Senator Jeff Flake’s campaign has a lot of work to do to persuade Republican primary voters that his form of principled Republican conservatism can trump the nativist populism that is fueling Republican voters’ antipathy towards Washington insiders.  These same Republicans still give the President a 74% approval rating in Arizona,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll.

“The good news for Senator Flake’s campaign is that the election is still a year away and his campaign has the financial support to more clearly articulate his own views and define his opponent’s positions.  Additionally, efforts to pass tax reform, infrastructure investment and other major policy initiatives could substantially change the electoral environment in Arizona,” said Coughlin.

The survey showed that Congresswoman Sinema is not known by 45% of the electorate in Arizona while Ward was beaten by nearly 100,000 votes in her primary election against Senator John McCain in 2016.

Coughlin continued, “Kelli Ward may not be well-known in light of her campaign against Senator McCain in 2016.  But even tacit support from the President, with subsequent staffing and financial resources, would be a huge boost for her chances.”

Additionally, General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender.

“The data clearly shows that a contentious primary fight would certainly strengthen the chances of the Democrats to pick up the seat in November of next year.  There is an opportunity for Congresswoman Sinema to take advantage of the uncertainty on the Republican side by jumping into the Senate race,” Coughlin remarked. “The question for the General Election comes down to if Congresswoman Sinema will be able to define herself first to an electorate that is largely unfamiliar with her, or if Republican third-party groups can define her in ways unacceptable to Arizona’s General Electorate.”

The survey showed that Sinema enjoys a 51% approval rating among voters in her Congressional district which is largely within the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, which are more progressive, urban areas of the State.

Although a 14-point margin is a sizeable gap for Senator Flake, Arizona is known for its volatility when it comes to statewide races. Politicos such as Governors Fife Symington and Jan Brewer have been able to successfully rally from greater margins in shorter periods of time.

Coughlin stated, “It may look dire now, but we must remember a poll is a snapshot in time.”

“Even today, the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) began to remind voters that Kelli Ward is not a serious thinker when it comes to the issues confronting our country.  I would expect third-party groups like the SLF and dark money groups like Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth to come to the Senator’s aid and tout his conservative credentials,” concluded Coughlin. “The Senator is in for the fight of his life and things will only get more difficult if the President Trump continues to pick intraparty fights.”

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.

About the Survey

The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 general election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  Anticipated turnout for the Arizona 2018 General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +12%.

Next, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the job the following persons or groups are doing:

Q.        If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?
[N = 273]

28.2%  Jeff Flake
42.5%  Kelli Ward
5.1%    Some other candidate
24.2%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?

32.5%  Jeff Flake
40.5%  Kyrsten Sinema
27.0%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Kelli Ward or Kyrsten Sinema?

30.5%  Kelli Ward
31.8%  Kyrsten Sinema
37.8%  Don’t know, Refused

The survey was conducted on August 18-19th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence.  The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Last year, HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Restoring Arizona, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.

Survey Demographics

Age Group:

10.8%    20 to 29
15.3%    30 to 39
19.7%    40 to 49
29.5%    50 to 64
24.7%    65 Plus

Sex:

48.0%    Male
52.0%    Female

Party:

44.2%    Republican
31.8%    Democrat
15.0%    PND
9.0%      Independent/Other

Congressional District:

11.0%    CD1
14.3%    CD2
7.0%      CD3
11.0%    CD4
12.3%    CD5
13.7%    CD6
6.0%      CD7
13.0%    CD8
11.7%    CD9

BREAKING: Kelli Ward Picks Up Endorsement From Mark Levin

During today’s broadcast of the Mark Levin radio show, Levin took a minute to announce his endorsement of Kelli Ward for the AZ Senate Primary race.  Levin, whose disdain for Liberal Republican John McCain is well documented, praised Kelli Ward for her courage to take on the entrenched liberal senator and praised her efforts on behalf of ‘small-R republicanism’.

This wasn’t the first time Levin mentioned Ward on the air.  He interviewed Kelli Ward on his radio program several times over the past few years, largely to discuss her involvement in the Article V Convention of States movement that would restore federalism as envisioned by our Framers.

What this ‘Levin Surge’ will do for the Ward campaign is anyone’s guess, but Levin’s record of endorsing Tea Party challengers is impressive as he endorsed both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio when they were both polling in the low-single digits.

Other candidates challenging McCain include activist Claire Van Steenwyck, businessmen Alex Meluskey and David Pizer. According to all polls released to date, these 3 candidates have no significant support among the Conservative base but may play a ‘spoiler’ for those who wish to oust McCain.

ArizonaInformer will continue to monitor this race closely.

GRAB THE TIN FOIL HATS: McCain Goes Full Birther on Ted Cruz

During an interview on the McCain propaganda machine known as KFYI, Arizona’s Liberal Senator went on a Birther rant against Ted Cruz.

From Buzzfeed:

mccain tinfoil hat

“I know it came up in my race because I was born in Panama, but I was born in the

Canal Zone which is a territory. Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona when it was a territory when he ran in 1964.”

Cruz was a U.S. citizen at birth; his mother was a U.S. citizen living in Canada at the time.

… [my birth] was [at] a U.S. military base,” continued McCain about his own birth. “That’s different from being born on foreign soil so I think there is a question. I am not a Constitutional scholar on that, but I think it’s worth looking into. I don’t think it’s illegitimate to look into it.”

 

McCain must be getting old(er) and senile(r) as he must have forgotten that with similar issues being brought up about his own out-of-country birth, Congress passed a resolution that addressed his issues and recognized the pro gun-control McCain as ‘Natural Born Citizen’ thus making him qualified to hold the office of the presidency.

Its understandable that no one will consider the liberal McCain as a Constitutional scholar (see his assault on the 1st amendment McCain-Feingold), but to see him go all in on the Birther conspiracy is a major tactical error considering TeamMcCain has spent much of 2015 trying to paint Kelli Ward as “conspiratorial”.

Now that strategy against Ward will fall flat as the Birther conspiracy is right up there with people who are members of the Flat Earth Society, are 9/11 Truthers, and others who deny the moon landing.

All that said, we’re thankful for missteps like this because they will add up and be the undoing of the Hillary Clinton’s favorite Senator:

For those wondering if Ted Cruz is a Natural Born Citizen, yes he is.  Listen to ‘The Great One’ explain it here.