Sen. Jeff Flake More Popular Among Arizona Democrats Than Republicans, Poll Finds

Survey captured mood of voters after Flake helped delay confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was seen more favorably among Democrats than Republicans in his home state this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was seen more favorably among Democrats than Republicans in his home state this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted October 5, 2018 at 10:33am

After he played a central role delaying the confirmation vote of Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh last week, GOP Sen. Jeff Flake’s favorability numbers in his home state of Arizona did something weird.

They flipped.

A new poll of likely voters in Arizona’s upcoming midterm elections conducted Monday and Tuesday found that Democrats view the retiring Republican more favorably than voters registered in his own party — and it’s a wide gap.

More than half, 59 percent, of Democrats in the OH Predictive Insights/ABC15 survey said they viewed Flake favorably, compared to only 20 percent of Republicans.

The results of the poll were another indication of just how closely voters are following the Senate’s process of confirming Kavanaugh, who would be the second Supreme Court nominee of President Donald Trump’s administration to ascend to the high court.

All told, just 38 percent of likely Arizona voters polled had favorable impressions of Flake. Fifty-four percent — including 71 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats — viewed him unfavorably.

The sudden lurch in Flake’s favorability ratings was similar to the shift in Sen. John McCain’s numbers last year when the late Arizona Republican delivered his dramatic, thumbs-down “no” vote to effectively kill the GOP’s years-long effort to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

“It seems like a lot of favorables can shift — close to 40 to 50 percent of a party could view you favorably or unfavorably in the blink of an eye based on how you react to Trump,” Noah Rudnick, a data analyst with OH Predictive, told KTAR radio in Arizona.

“I think that holds a lesson with any senators looking to break ranks versus toeing the party line,” Rudnick said.

Pollsters surveyed 600 likely Arizona voters by telephone earlier this week. The poll had an error margin of +/- 4 percentage points.

Flake is retiring from the Senate after he completes his term this winter, though many have speculated he could mount a 2020 bid against Trump as a middle-of-the-road, return-to-normalcy GOP candidate.

The Senate will vote to invoke cloture on debate of Kavanaugh’s confirmation Friday and is expected to hold its final vote Saturday on the nominee.