New poll shows steep uphill climb Arizona Democrats face

| October 26 2012
Hannah Thoreson

The latest poll findings from Rasmussen make it seem like many of the Democrats’ ambitions for this year’s election in Arizona are nothing but pure fantasy.

Take the U.S. Senate race, for example, which is probably the marquee race in a state that will not be competitive in the presidential election.  Self-proclaimed moderate and registered Democrat Richard Carmona has received a lot of favorable press lately in his bid to win the open Senate seat.  He has received a lot of gleeful hype from national Democrats openly angling to use his candidacy as proof of the “changing demographics” theory.  Former President Bill Clinton even visited ASU Tempe to hold a rally for Carmona as early voting began.

But the latest polling shows that an actual win for the Democratic candidate in Arizona’s Senate race is likely a bridge too far, even with a campaign more elaborate than what was waged against John McCain in 2010.  Jeff Flake, the popular six-term Republican Congressman from the East Valley, is currently in the lead 50% to 44%, with only 3% undecided.  Even if Carmona won every single remaining undecided voter, he would still come up three points shy of the total needed to win.  The six-point polling deficit is consistent with last month’s survey, but this is the first time Jeff Flake has hit 50% in the Rasmussen poll.  Carmona is viewed unfavorably by 46% of Arizona voters, so he may be near the ceiling of his possible support base already.

Likewise, Proposition 204, the so-called “one cent sales tax for education”, has been polled several times and come up far short in each survey.  The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry commissioned a poll that found it with a mere 34% support statewide.  The $1 billion sales tax hike fared somewhat better in the Rasmussen poll, picking up 40% support.  But with the opposition already at 50%, it’s another situation where every single undecided voter would have to come out in favor of the permanent tax increase in order for it to pass.

President Obama’s odds in Arizona are similarly miserable, according to the latest polling.  While his campaign manager had laid out a path to victory that included a blue Arizona at the beginning of the year, Obama currently trails Romney by 8 points in the state — even with the option for respondents to choose a third party candidate such as Gary Johnson.  There are barely even any signs that the Obama-Biden ticket has campaigned for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, and the probability that he will win them with such a wide polling gap less than two weeks before Election Day approaches zero.

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