Most Arizona voters say their midterm election vote will send a message this November, and for a majority of the electorate, that message is a call for Democrats to check the power of President Donald Trump. The president’s job approval score is upside down in the state, and nearly six in ten residents say he does not deserve to be re-elected.
Attitudes about the president serve as a backdrop for this year’s midterm elections which Arizona voters take seriously. In fact, more than nine in ten registered voters statewide (93%) consider November’s elections to be important, including more than two-thirds (68%) who say they are very important. An identical proportion (74%) of Democrats and Republicans agree the fall’s contests are of utmost importance.
Democrats currently hold the upper hand. A majority of Arizona registered voters (52%) want to send a message in November that more Democrats are needed to be a check and balance on the president. 36% of the state’s voters want more Republicans to help the president pass his agenda. In addition, 43% of the state’s registered voters prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats compared with 39% who want Republicans to maintain power. And, seven points separate the Democrat (46%) and Republican (39%) in the generic congressional ballot question in Arizona.
The stakes are high for Arizona Democrats who hope to claim the seat of retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads the potential field of Republicans in hypothetical general election contests by double digits.
“In a GOP state that President Trump carried by not quite four points, the Democrats are positioned to pick up a Senate seat in their efforts to gain the majority of the upper chamber,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Clearly, the Republicans will need to unify after their heated primary to close the gap.”
In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Arizona, Martha McSally (30%) and Kelli Ward (28%) are closely matched among Arizona’s potential Republican electorate including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Joe Arpaio follows with 21%. Of note, 21% are undecided.
“This primary contest is wide open,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “More than one in five potential GOP voters are undecided, and the total proportion of persuadable voters in this contest reaches 41% when those who might change their mind about their current choice are included. In fact, most of Arpaio’s backers are strongly committed to him.”
Nearly half of the potential Republican electorate in Arizona with a candidate preference for the primary say they strongly support their choice (49%). Among their respective supporters, 74% are firmly committed to Arpaio, 42% strongly support Ward, and 40% firmly back McSally.
When the GOP candidates are matched against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in hypothetical general election contests, Sinema leads all three. Sinema (57%) is strongest against Arpaio (32%) where she is ahead by 25 points. Sinema’s (49%) lead narrows against McSally (38%) to 11 points. Sinema is also ahead of Ward by 10 points, 48% to 38%.
“Sinema’s very wide lead over Arpaio is based on her getting nearly six in ten independents and her more than doubling her Republican support than when she is matched against McSally or Ward,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
Arizona registered voters would rather Republican Governor Doug Ducey not be re-elected. 59% of voters, including more than one-third (34%) of Ducey’s own party, say someone new should be given a chance in office. 26% of the state’s voters say Ducey deserves to be re-elected. 15% are unsure.
President Trump’s job approval rating in Arizona is underwater. 47% of residents disapprove of how he does his job, and 39% approve. 35% of Arizona residents strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance, and 28% strongly approve.
A plurality of Arizona adults (45%) asserts the economy has improved during President Trump’s term in office and credits the president with that improvement. 25% say the economy is doing better but do not give Trump much credit for the improvement, and 24% say the economy has not really improved. Only 1% say it has gotten worse.
In the next presidential election, nearly six in ten Arizona residents (59%) report Trump does not deserve to be re-elected, and someone new should be given a chance to govern. 33% say Trump deserves a second term.
Half of Arizona residents (50%) think Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the possible wrongdoings and Russian interference in the 2016 election have been fair. 33% think it is a “witch hunt.” 16% are unsure.