Kelly Rebounds, McSally Treads Water

Kelly Leading McSally by 10 in the Grand Canyon State

PHOENIX (September 16th, 2020)- Former Astronaut Mark Kelly opened up a 10-point lead on Sen. Martha McSally in one of the most expensive and closely watched Senate races in the nation.

According to a recent survey by OH Predictive Insights, Kelly earned the support of 52 percent of likely voters in an effort to finish the final two years of the late-Sen. John McCain’s term. In comparison, incumbent-Republican Martha McSally sits at 42 percent.

The Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) – a tracking poll of Arizona likely voters – shows McSally closely tracking President Trump. Dating back to August 2019, OH Predictive Insights has polled both the Senate and Presidential races in Arizona eight times. This September survey is one of only two over that period not to show McSally underperforming Trump. 

“Sen. McSally’s barrage of attacks against Mark Kelly seemed to be working last month,’” says OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble. “However, Kelly is now deploying his vast war chest to fight back, which is boosting his fortunes.”

Just last month, McSally appeared to be gaining ground against Kelly, narrowing her deficit in the race to only 5 points. The reason behind her brief improvement in August, followed by this September slide, can be explained by looking at the voting intentions of Independents in the state. As we pointed out in our August release, that month’s survey saw noticeable increases in “undecided” Independent voters and decreases in Kelly-supporting independents. Over the past month, however, it appears most of those tentative Kelly supporters have returned to his corner instead of moving further towards McSally.

Another key to Kelly’s strong performance in these polls is his appeal to a small-but-important portion of Republicans. This poll finds that 15 percent of Republicans support Kelly over McSally, while just 6 percent of Democrats are supporting the Republican nominee over their own.

Though these numbers may be disheartening for the McSally camp, looking at the broadcast spending totals in the Senate race shows both sides still believe this is a competitive race. This week (9/12 – 9/18) alone will see more than $6.5 million in ads plaster Arizona’s televisions and radios, according to the ad tracker, Medium Buying. In fact, McSally’s campaign and pro-GOP outside groups, like the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the Senate Leadership Fund (run by allies of Mitch McConnell), were projected to outspend Kelly’s campaign and Democratic-aligned groups by almost $250,000 this week.

“National GOP PACs have several seats to defend this cycle,” says OHPI Data Analyst Jacob Joss, “If they thought McSally was a lost cause, they would be cutting bait, not investing in more ads.”

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Methodology: This poll was conducted as a blended phone survey 46.5% Live Caller/53.5% IVR. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights from September 8th to September 10th, 2020, from an Arizona 2020 Likely Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education level. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with an MoE of ± 4.0%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding. Note: a change was made in the sampling methodology of the AZPOP between June and July 2020 to better reflect the state of Arizona’s voter composition.

Media Contacts: Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights, m.noble@ohpredictive.com, (480) 313-1837
Haylye Plaster, OH Predictive Insights, h.plaster@ohpredictive.com, (602) 687-3034

About OH Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan market research, predictive analytics, and public opinion polling firm, 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 602-362-5694 or submit a request online. 

About Medium Buying:  Our name Medium is an homage to the fact that media and advertising has become incredibly complicated and fragmented over the last several years. It used to be broadcast TV, cable and radio – now it’s multiple platforms on an array of devices. Today, a good ad buying company is focused on getting powerful creative or content in front of their target audience regardless of the medium it takes to reach them.

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