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Progressive Group poll suggests deep primary issues for Kyrsten Sinema

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is deeply unpopular with Democratic primary voters in his home state and is said to be vulnerable against a number of challengers within the party, according to a new poll from a progressive group.

The survey, from Data for Progress, carries some serious caveats. The midterms of 2022 aren’t even here yet, let alone the 2024 election. And Arizona’s primaries are open to independent voters, meaning the exact make-up of the electorate is difficult to determine even in the weeks leading up to an election, let alone three years in advance.

But the numbers for Sinema, a centrist who plays a leading role in keeping key items on President Joe Biden’s agenda, are grim. They show widespread dissatisfaction with her performance, making her vulnerable to almost any Democratic challengers.

“Her opposition to President Biden’s agenda sets her up for an incredibly difficult Democratic primary,” said Sean McElwee, one of the co-founders of Data for Progress, while acknowledging that 2024 is far away. “She will face immense headwinds.”

Seventy percent of potential voters in the 2024 primary hold a negative opinion of Sinema, with just 24 percent voicing a positive opinion of the first-term senator. Almost half have a “very unfavorable” opinion. In contrast, 85% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of Senator Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), who is also in his first term.

The investigation tested Sinema against four main potential challengers: Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Iraq War veteran who represents Phoenix and whose name comes up frequently in conversations about potential threats to Sinema; Representative Greg Stanton, former mayor of Phoenix; the mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego; and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.

While all four candidates did show up – an unlikely scenario for many reasons, including the fact that Ruben and Kate Gallego were married to each other – survey shows Ruben Gallego wins 23% of the vote to 19% for Sinema and 13% for Stanton. Romero and Kate Gallego would theoretically get 9% of the vote.

But direct confrontations show just how dire Sinema’s position could be. The four potential challengers have massive advances: Ruben Gallego leads Sinema from 62% to 23%; Kate Gallego has a 60% to 25% advantage; Stanton leads 59% to 24%; and Romero leads 55% to 26%.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) attends a meeting of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on October 6 in Washington, DC

Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

It is clear that animosity towards Sinema is the determining factor here. Romero is the only candidate who isn’t in Phoenix’s massive media market, and the poll found two-thirds of primary voters didn’t know her enough to have an opinion. But that didn’t stop her from opening a 30-point lead over the incumbent.

The poll also found that most of Sinema’s proposals to reshape Biden’s social and climate spending program – the cost of which over 10 years is already expected to drop from $ 3.5 trillion to $ 2.5 trillion or less on the insistence of Sinema and Senator Joe Manchin (DW .Va.) – are unpopular with the state’s Democratic primary voters.

For example, 88% of primary voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports raising taxes for the rich and big business. Sinema has resisted many proposed tax increases to pay for Biden’s legislative agenda, and also would not support an ultra-popular proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs.

Much of Sinema’s electoral fate could depend on his relationship with Biden, who remains popular with primary voters. While she played a key role in negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure package sought by the White House over the summer, sources close to the administration found it opaque and frustrating to deal with during the elections. negotiations on the so-called Build Back Better plan. CNN reported earlier this month that Sinema does not always answer calls from the White House.

LUCHA, a progressive group based in Arizona, has already launched a political action committee to raise funds for a 2024 main challenge for Sinema. Separately, Chuck Rocha, a senior nominator for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, launched a group encouraging Ruben Gallego to run. (Gallego declined pleas to run in 2020, when Kelly defeated Republican Senator Martha McSally.)

Even if no credible main threat emerges, widespread discontent among Arizona Democrats could threaten Sinema’s electoral hopes should she choose to run for re-election in 2024. In Sinema’s 2018 Senate race, a Party candidate Green won 2.5% of the vote, far more than Green Party Candidates in competitive races elsewhere in the country. If the bloc of Liberal voters supporting the Green Party grows, it could cause problems for Sinema.

No other poll has measured the main potential challenges for Sinema, although other polls – mostly conducted before attention to her role in sustaining the Build Back Better plan intensified – put her in a better position. among Democrats.

A September OH Predictive Insights poll found that 56% of Democrats viewed it favorably, while 30% viewed it unfavorably. Her favor with the GOP and independent voters was relatively strong: Overall, 46% of registered voters in Arizona viewed her favorably while 39% viewed her unfavorably.

A Morning Consult survey earlier this month found that 46% of Democrats approved of his performance at work, while 40% disapproved. Overall, voters were divided over his performance, with 42% approval and 42% disapproval.

Data for Progress polled 467 probable Democratic primary voters in Arizona from October 8-10, giving the poll a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.


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