Kirkpatrick Poll Shows Tight Race in Arizona

Posted September 25, 2010 at 3:55pm

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is in for a tough race against Republican Paul Gosar in Arizona’s 1st district. Internal polling conducted for her campaign shortly after the Aug. 24 primary confirms that.

The polling memo, obtained by Roll Call, states that “even in this tough environment for incumbent Democrats in Arizona, Ann Kirkpatrick holds a lead on the initial ballot and maintains that lead even after messaging on both candidates, including tough messaging on the incumbent.”

The survey, taken by Democratic firm Lake Research Partners, found Kirkpatrick with 43 percent, Gosar with 39 percent and 17 percent undecided. The poll was conducted Aug. 24-26 with 500 likely voters and has a 4.4-point margin of error.

This puts the race closer than a previous GOP poll showed, but it is similar to a Gosar internal poll. A survey conducted around the same time by GOP firm Ayres, McHenry & Associates had Gosar leading 47 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, polling for the Gosar campaign, performed by Moore Information a few days later, found the two tied at 43 percent apiece.

The Kirkpatrick poll also shows the incumbent maintaining a net favorable rating. While three-fifths of voters did not know enough about Gosar to rate him, 46 percent rated Kirkpatrick favorably and 37 percent unfavorably.

The pollster weighted the poll in the GOP-leaning district toward Republicans, who made up 44 percent of those interviewed. Democrats made up 38 percent and “other” were 18 percent.

The district is a target of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and this poll will do little to alter Republicans’ belief that Kirkpatrick is vulnerable. The NRCC recently announced it was expanding its initial ad reservations to include the 1st district, as well as Rep. Harry Mitchell’s (D) 5th district, both of which fall within the Phoenix media market.

Unlike several incumbent Democrats elsewhere, the poll shows Kirkpatrick — who represents a district that both Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and President George W. Bush won with 54 percent in the last two presidential elections — with an opportunity to win. However, after a month of TV ads and campaigning since the poll was taken, the race could be leaning further in one direction by now.