Sen. Kyrsten Sinema isn’t liked very much in the Copper state—and it’s been that way for a while. She has strayed away from her Democratic roots, her critics say she doesn’t listen to constituents, and she has become pretty chummy with money-hungry corporations.
So when she announced she wasn’t a Democrat any longer last month and would be an Independent instead, it wasn’t much of a surprise. But when Rep. Ruben Gallego announced plans to run for the Democratic nomination for her seat in 2024—well, things suddenly got more interesting.
If there’s a three-way senate race next year, who would be the frontrunner?
A recent survey of the 2024 Arizona Senate race indicates that Arizonans not only favor Gallego over Sinema but also that Sinema is the most unfavorable political candidate in the state.
Furthermore, the poll shows that if Gallego were to run against Republican Kari Lake, he’d win 50% to 45%.
The outcome would change, however, if it’s a three-way race between Gallego, Lake, and Sinema. Gallego would tie with Lake with 36%— which means Sinema would act as a potential spoiler to a Gallego win.
Jill Normington of Normington Petts conducted the polling among 800 likely voters in Arizona who are likely to vote in the November 2024 general election. The poll was conducted from January 18-23, 2023.
“Kyrsten Sinema has abandoned our communities and the voters who elected her. It’s not surprising that she is set to lose badly if she runs again,” said Alejandra Gomez, the executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA). “But now we have to make sure that even more voters understand the harm she has caused, so that she can’t play spoiler.”
Other key takeaways from the poll:
- Sinema deeply unpopular, Gallego popular: Sinema begins the 2024 cycle as an unpopular political figure. Voters have negative impressions of each of the potential US Senate candidates tested, with the exception of Gallego.
- Gallego is a strong candidate. Not only does the Democratic base like him, but his statewide name identification is impressive at 51%, given that he represents just 11% of the state.
- Sinema preemptively avoided a primary challenge. Poll results suggest that Gallego would have mopped the floor with Sinema in a primary—and Sinema is experienced enough to know it. Her party switch is a cynical attempt at political survival, not some virtuous endeavor to be more in touch with Arizonans.
“Senator Sinema left the Democratic Party, but she refuses to declare her independence from Wall Street and Big Pharma,” said Alex Alvarez, the executive director of Progress Arizona. “If she stays in this race, we’re going to make sure that every single Arizonan understands that she puts Wall Street first and Arizona last.”
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