By Jim EllisApril 19, 2018 — Magellan Strategies independently surveyed the Arizona Republican electorate (April 11-12 and 15; 755 likely Arizona Republican primary voters) to test the state’s upcoming Senate race, along with Sen. John McCain’s (R) status and that of other key elected GOP leaders.
According to Magellan’s results, US Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) outpaces former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and ex-state senator and 2016 US Senate candidate Kelli Ward, 36-26-25 percent, an improvement for the congresswoman when compared to previously published polls.
In January, Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights released their poll that found McSally leading 31-22-19 percent over Arpaio and Ward, while another Arizona-based survey research firm, Data Orbital, found a much tighter three-way split, 31-29-25, again with McSally topping Arpaio and Ward, consecutively.
Much speculation still surrounds Arpaio’s candidacy. Some believe that he will drop his Senate campaign prior to the state’s May 30 candidate filing deadline, instead using the race as basically a vehicle to raise money to cover legal fees from battling charges filed against him during the past two years. President Trump pardoned Arpaio after he was found guilty of criminal contempt in relation to refusing to follow a judge’s immigration order while in his position as sheriff.
We will soon obtain a clue to his intentions. Arpaio indicates his campaign raised approximately $500,000 during the previous quarter with expenses in the neighborhood of $250,000. Once the Federal Election Commission disclosure reports are published, we will see a detailed account of how Arpaio is spending his money.
There are two schools of thought whether Arpaio remaining in the race or departing benefits McSally the most. Some believe the three-way race is to her advantage because Arpaio and Ward split the most conservative voter base, as this poll clearly depicts. Others think that McSally will have little trouble dispensing with Ward in a one-on-one primary contest.
McSally leads in seven of Magellan’s 10 segmentation categories (all men, married men, all women, married women, 65 years of age and older, traditional Republicans, and GOP voters who supported Evan McMullin for president). Arpaio is first among single Republican men, single Republican women, and GOP voters who supported Trump for president. Ward leads in no categories, but surpasses Arpaio for second place among all men, married men, married women, traditional Republicans, and McMullin Republicans.
Former Sheriff Arpaio is still very well regarded among these Republican primary polling respondents. He records a favorability index of 67:28 percent favorable to unfavorable. This compares to Rep. McSally’s 48:24, and Ward’s 46:26 percent ratios. In comparison, President Trump’s job approval among the polled Republicans is a robust 82:14 percent. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who stands for re-election this year, registers a 59:26 percent approval score.
Scoring negative approval ratings are Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain. According to this poll, retiring Sen. Flake’s job approval is a horrific 18:74 percent among members of his own party. The ailing Sen. McCain’s job approval is also a poor 24:72 percent favorable to unfavorable, with 77 percent saying he should retire.
Finally, the poll contains more bad news for the Republican congressional leadership. Despite having majority control, the GOP House and Senate leadership job approval rates only a 23:65 percent favorability index within their own Arizona voting base, another indication that Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) retirement doesn’t necessarily hamper rank and file Republican congressional candidates