Tucson voters are overwhelmingly supporting Democratic candidates for various statewide and federal offices, a new Arizona Daily Star/Strongpoint Marketing reader survey shows.
The poll of 2,025 Southern Arizona residents continues to show that Tucson is a true Democratic oasis in the Republican-led state. The poll is a partnership between the Star and Tucson’s Strongpoint Marketing.
The survey, which relies on reader participation, skews in favor of Democrats when compared with voter registration numbers for the city.
SINEMA AHEAD OF MCSALLY
In the highly competitive Senate race to replace outgoing Senator Jeff Flake, local voters favor Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema over Tucson Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally by a significant margin.
Seventy percent of those surveyed said they would back Sinema, who hails from Phoenix, while only 26 percent said that they would support McSally, who has represented Tucson in Congress for the last four years.
Recent statewide polls, however, have the Senate race in a virtual dead heat between Sinema and McSally.
In other statewide races, the Star/Strongpoint poll shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia could expect to receive 66 percent of the vote compared with the 30 percent Republican incumbent Doug Ducey would receive locally, the data shows.
RENEWABLE ENERGY, SCHOOL VOUCHERS
Controversial Proposition 127, mandating that utility companies produce at least 50 percent of their energy through renewable resources by 2030, split respondents with 50 percent supporting it, 41 percent opposing and 9 percent undecided.
An effort to increase a program that allows students in Arizona public schools to seek vouchers of state tax dollars to attend private or parochial schools — known as Proposition 305 — received only 37 percent of survey respondents’ support.
Congressional District 2 is often considered to be a highly competitive district, with Democrats having only a slight registration advantage.
While Republican Martha McSally easily won re-election in 2016 over her Democratic rival Matt Heinz, the district backed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump by nearly 5 percent.
In this year’s challenge between Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Republican Lea Marquez Peterson, Kirkpatrick garnered 69 percent of survey respondents’ support, compared with 26 percent for Marquez Peterson.
Residents of Cochise County, which is also part of CD2, were not polled in significant amounts for this survey.
In neighboring Congressional District 3, those polled heavily favored giving Tucson Democrat Raúl Grijalva his ninth consecutive term in the House. Sixty-six percent of local voters said they would back Grijalva over his Republican rival, Nick Pierson.
The only other Congressional District polled, CD1, gave a comfortable lead to the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Tom O’Halleran over his Republican rival, retired Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers.
As with the case in CD2, the survey did not poll voters in other parts of the state that are parts of CD1 and CD3.
DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT GROWING?
The chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, Jo Holt, isn’t surprised by the numbers.
An aggressive voter registration drive in Pima County, paired with multiple pushes to get out the vote locally, benefits Democrats.
“We do quite well in Pima County,” she said.
However, turnout in a midterm election is still a problem, she concedes.
As of Tuesday, roughly 43 percent of the early ballots returned in Pima County were from Democrats and roughly 34 percent were from Republicans.
The chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, David Eppihimer, remains optimistic about Republican candidates both statewide and locally, despite the poll.
“Regardless of the poll and regardless of the registration numbers, we are looking forward to a very happy Tuesday night,” Eppihimer said.
In addition to a sweep of statewide races including the Senate seat, Eppihimer predicts that local Republican statehouse candidates will flip some seats next week.
The Arizona Daily Star/Strongpoint Marketing survey did not poll any state House races.
In terms of the poll, Eppihimer notes that results aren’t surprising given the registration advantages Democrats have in Pima County.
“We often refer to ourselves as living on a blue island in a sea of red,” he said.
Eppihimer said that statewide Republicans are returning their early ballots at a higher rate than Democrats.
The regional survey primarily polled those living in Pima County and the poll was weighted to better reflect local demographics, including age groups and income levels.
A majority of those polled earlier this month reported living inside the city limits, with the second largest group saying they live in Pima County but not in Tucson.
Inside the city limits, Democrats have nearly a 2 to 1 registration advantage over Republicans.
Nearly 45 percent of registered voters are Democrats, 23 percent are Republican and those with no party registration, often referred to as independents, account for roughly 32 percent of the registered voters in Tucson.
However, Tucson remains a blue dot in a sea of red.
Statewide, about 35 percent of voters are Republicans, 33 percent are independents and Democrats are about 31 percent of the total registered voters, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.