Poll: Flake leads Carmona by 1 point

2012-09-11T14:45:00Z 2012-09-11T14:49:21Z Poll: Flake leads Carmona by 1 pointBrady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 11, 2012 2:45 pm  • 

A new poll shows Republican Jeff Flake with a one-point percentage lead on Democrat Richard Carmona in the U.S. Senate race.

Flake has a 44-43 percent lead on Carmona among 993 likely voters surveyed over the weekend by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning organization. Another 13 percent remain undecided.

The same poll shows Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with a 53-44 percent lead on President Barack Obama.

The new poll basically mirrors the survey conducted in late July by Public Policy Polling that showed Romney with a 52-41 percent lead on Obama and Flake and Carmona tied at 38-38 percent.

A poll done by Rasmussen in late June, however, showed Flake with a 16-percentage point lead on Carmona among 500 likely Arizona voters. Rasmussen is considered a more Republican-leaning organization.

Dennis DeConcini was the last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Arizona, and the state leans more Republican now. The 3.1 million registered voters are divided into thirds; Republicans lead with 36 percent of voters, followed by 33 percent independent voters and 30 percent Democrats.

Most pundits consider Flake the clear front-runner, thanks in large part to that 180,000 advantage in registered Republican voters. Two websites that specialize in making predictions — Sabato's Crystal Ball and the Rothenberg Political Report — have Arizona's Senate race "leaning" Republican. Those predictions fall short of the more bold, "Safe Republican" rating, but keep the race out of the "toss up" zone.

The new Public Policy Polling survey suggests that Carmona has some cross-over appeal. The former registered independent who served under Republican President George W. Bush as U.S. Surgeon General earned 17 percent of votes from Republicans surveyed, the poll shows. Flake, by comparison, got 11 percent of votes from Democrats surveyed.

Flake leads among independent voters (39-36 percent) and with women (43-30 percent). Flake is a six-term Congressman from Mesa who defeated Wil Cardon in the Aug. 28 Republican primary by 48 percentage points.

Carmona has a wide lead with Hispanics (55-24 percent), a small lead among non-whites and Hispanics (41-37 percent) but trails among white voters by a 48-41 margin.

Carmona, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, released a web ad this week as he continues to try to make himself known across the state after being largely out of the spotlight during the primary election season. Carmona also told the Associated Press this week that Republicans previously tried to recruit him to run for Congress with the GOP in the mid-2000s. Republicans have been trying to paint Carmona as President Obama’s hand-picked candidate and a “rubber stamp” for Obama and the Democrats' agenda.

The new poll shows much of the state still doesn’t know Carmona, who lives in Tucson. Asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him, 49 percent said they were unsure. He’s viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 16 percent.

By comparison, Flake appears more well know across the state, with just 21 percent saying they didn’t know him. He’s regarded favorably by 44 percent and unfavorably by 35 percent.

The general election is Nov. 6. Early ballots go out on Oct. 11.

 Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.

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The Arizona Daily Star's Pueblo Politics blog includes stories and related items from the Tucson and Pima County political scene written by Star reporters Becky Pallack and Joe Ferguson.

Have a political topic you would like to see in the blog or suggestions? Email Becky Pallack at bpallack@tucson.com and Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com

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