Democrats and Republicans Optimistic About Hot Arizona House Races

Internal polls show Democrats holding 1st and GOP holding 2nd District

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally holds a 19-point lead over Democratic challenger Matt Heinz according to a new campaign internal poll. She won her seat by just 167 votes two years ago. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New internal polls of Arizona's competitive House races suggest the state could be on track to maintain the delegation's current 5-4 partisan split. 

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll released Wednesday gave Democrat Tom O'Halleran a 45 percent to 38 percent lead over Republican Paul Babeu in the tossup 1st District. Current Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is running for Senate. 

In the state's other competitive district, GOP Rep. Martha McSally held a 19-point lead over Democratic challenger Matt Heinz in an internal poll her campaign released Tuesday. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as Republican Favored

In Democrats' quest to net 30 seats in the House, the Grand Canyon State's 1st District is a must-hold seat. The Global Strategy Group poll conducted for the DCCC showed O'Halleran overperforming Hillary Clinton in the district. The Democratic presidential nominee leads Republican rival Donald Trump 46 to 43 percent. 

Babeu, the Pinal County Sheriff, won a five-way GOP primary last month. While he has higher name ID than O'Halleran, he also posts high unfavorable numbers. 

[Field Set in Arizona's Tossup House District]

In a home video publicized earlier this year, Babeu spoke approvingly of abuse at a school he once led for troubled youth. And when he first ran for Congress, in 2012, a former lover alleged that Babeu threatened him with deportation if he spoke about their romance. 

Kirkpatrick has held on to the seat, despite Mitt Romney and John McCain both carrying the district in the last two presidential elections. 

O'Halleran ended the pre-primary reporting period on Aug. 10 with $472,000 in the bank. Babeu ended the same period with $116,000

The Global Strategy Group poll surveyed 400 likely voters from Sept. 22 to Sept. 25 and had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. 

In the 2nd District to the south, McSally's internal poll gave her a 56 to 37 percent lead over Heinz with 7 percent of likely voters undecided. She, too, is overperforming the top of the ticket. Trump held a 43-38 percent lead over Clinton here, with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson taking 10 percent. 

In this Wilson Perkins Allen Research poll, McSally has a 63 percent job approval and 24 percent disapproval rating.

[Knocking Down Barriers McSally-Style]

Unsurprisingly, the GOP freshman leads in name ID, with 95 percent familiar with her compared to 49 percent who knew Heinz, a former state representative. Fifty-seven percent of likely voters have a favorable view of McSally and 31 percent have an unfavorable view. Twenty-seven percent of likely voters have a favorable view of Heinz and 9 percent have an unfavorable view, the poll found.  

The WPA poll surveyed 400 likely voters via telephone from Sept. 14-15, with cell phones making up 38 percent of the sample. The poll had a margin of error 4.9 percentage points.

McSally barely won this district in 2014, edging out former Democratic Rep. Ron Barber by 167 votes. Romney and McCain narrowly carried the district at the presidential level. 

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