PHOENIX — Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former television anchor Kari Lake are the top Democratic and Republican candidates leading in the state's 2022 gubernatorial race, recent polling numbers show.
Voters have pegged Hobbs and Lake as the early front-runners in the competitive race to replace Gov. Doug Ducey next year, according to polling data collected by OH Predictive Insights, a nonpartisan research firm.
The survey polled 863 registered Arizona voters during the first week of July, asking which of the eight declared gubernatorial candidates they favor most.
About 40% of respondents had either a "somewhat" or "very" favorable opinion of Hobbs, who became Arizona's first Democratic secretary of state since 1995 after her electoral victory three years ago.
Lake, who retired from broadcast journalism this year after a 22-year career at a Phoenix news station, showed a net favorability rating of 39%.
Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee and former Congressman Matt Salmon trailed close behind Hobbs and Lake with favorability ratings of 32% and 31%, respectively.
Jacob Joss, a data analyst for Predictive Insights, noted how Lake's long-running career on television likely made her a more competitive candidate against her Republican challengers.
“It turns out Kari Lake’s decades of being on local television, Matt Salmon’s decades of experience in Arizona politics, and Kimberly Yee’s status as a current statewide officeholder have been major benefits to their name ID,” Joss said.
About 27% of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Hobbs, which was higher than Lake's 22% unfavorable rating.
Both Hobbs and Lake were the most favorable candidates among their respective political parties.
Predictive Insight's data further indicates that Democrats may be able to hold on to the Senate seat that's up for grabs in 2022.
The firm's poll found that 50% of respondents had a favorable opinion of U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, a notable lead over the 40% rating held by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, one of the race's top Republican candidates.
By contrast, the poll also shows that 40% of voters think of Kelly unfavorably -- suggesting the Democrat elicits a sharp split in public opinion.
“Although Mark Kelly is not in as safe as a position as he might like, with more than one year until the general election and an enormous campaign war chest, he has the time and resources to improve his numbers," Joss added.
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