FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       June 20, 2018    

McSally Now Holds Commanding 14-Point Lead

Arpaio Plays Spoiler to Ward, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Shadow Looms Large

PHOENIX (June 20, 2018) – A new poll from OH Predictive Insights of likely Arizona 2018 Republican primary voters found that Congresswoman Martha McSally now has a commanding lead in the primary with 39% of the vote, a little more than her two opponents combined.

“McSally is starting to tell her story, she’s flush with cash, and she benefited from her pivot to embrace Trump. That all puts her in the driver’s seat – or should I say the cockpit?,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based research polling company. “With only 22.4% of voters undecided in the GOP Primary and early voting approximately 40 days away, expect the attacks to start flying as the candidates ratchet up the pressure.”

McSally’s large growth in support comes mostly from more people knowing who she is. In our last poll, close to four in 10 voters in Maricopa County, where most voters will be, had no impression of McSally. Now she’s seen huge growth in the population rich county that has helped her take the lead overall

The graph below breaks this up, and the number in parentheses on the x-axis indicates the size of each geographic region based on predicted turnout for 2018.

Another core of McSally’s support is among those with more education, and in a primary, they will play an outsized role in the electorate. As the level of education increases, Kelli Ward’s support stays about equal. However, Joe Arpaio’s vote share decreases, and McSally’s share increases, with a stark gap among those with a graduate degree.

Recently, McSally has campaigned as a strong Trump ally and that strategy appears to be paying off as she takes a solid lead among Trump voters, the largest bloc of voters. McSally has also consolidated the moderate vote as her opponents struggle to appeal to anyone outside their ideological base.

A large factor in this primary will be the support of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who according to reports is backing Martha McSally. In our polling of Republican primary voters, a McConnell endorsement carries with it a negative impact when asked whether a candidate backed by McConnell makes them more or less likely to support that candidate. While nearly half said no effect, among those that it does have an impact with, the reaction was a net negative by approximately 30%.

A McConnell endorsement is fairly unpopular among all groups but provokes a stronger negative reaction among Tea Party and the large Trump Republican faction. His best performance is with the Christian Conservative group, but his opposition is still 2:1 among that group.

An endorsement also cuts right to the core of McSally’s support in another way, as voters with higher education are more likely to turn away from a McConnell-backed candidate while those with a lower education level do not have as much of a negative response.

“Martha McSally has been able to rocket to the top so far by hugging Trump as hard as she can,” said Noah Rudnick, data analyst with OH Predictive Insights. “Now comes the second phase where she assumes the frontrunner role and her opponents will attempt to drag her down, and there’s little doubt Mitch McConnell will be playing a feature role in this primary.”

Methodology: This IVR telephone survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights on June 11th thru 12th, 2018, from a likely Arizona 2018 Republican Primary voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, geographic location, gender, and age. 90% of respondents were Republican and 10% were Independent voters. 100% of respondents were completed via landline. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ±4%.

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Media Contact:  Haylye Plaster, OH Predictive Insights, h.plaster@ohpredictive.com, 602-402-5181

About OH Predictive Insights

Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling, and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 602-254-5159 or submit a request online.

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