President Donald Trump’s unpopularity in Arizona could be a drag on the Republican nominee in next’s year’s U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
The Arizona Senate race is being watched nationally as one of two races where Democrats have a realistic chance of taking a seat back from Republicans, potentially affecting control of the U.S. Senate.
The new Arizona survey, by OH Predictive Insights, factors in the historic 12-point turnout advantage for Republicans in Arizona mid-term elections.
Despite that advantage, Trump’s approval rating is underwater.
The survey showed 45 percent of respondents saying his first year in office has been successful, versus 49 percent who said it was unsuccessful.
The split was largely along partisan lines, but self-identified “moderate” voters broke sharply against Trump: 67 percent said he was unsuccessful, with just 26 percent saying Trump has had a successful first year in office.
The poll also asked voters if they were better off or worse off under Trump: 36 percent said "better"; 28 percent said "same"; and 33 percent said "worse off."
Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 3.5 percentage points in the 2016 general election. It was the smallest victory margin for a Republican nominee in 20 years.
General election voters' antipathy toward Trump creates a dilemma for the Republican candidates.
In a GOP primary matchup, former state legislator Kelli Ward, making her second Senate run in the last two years, leads Tucson Congresswoman Martha McSally, by 42 percent to 34 percent, with 24 percent.
Ward has fully embraced Trump as a running-mate. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a harsh critic of the president, decided not to run for re-election after concluding he couldn't win a primary stacked with Trump supporters.
McSally has told Republican colleagues she is running, but has not formally announced her candidacy.
But in a general election match-up, both Ward and McSally are toss-ups against three-term Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix.
Sinema leads both McSally, 46 percent to 45 percent, and Ward, 46 percent to 43 percent. The differences are within the poll’s margin of error.
Again, despite the historic Republican turnout advantage, Sinema benefits from the support of self-identified moderates. They favor the Democratic Senate nominee by 37 points over the Republican.
Arizona has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since Sen. Dennis DeConcini’s re-election victory in 1988.
The automated survey of likely general election voters was conducted Nov. 9. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.