Sinema’s Independence Costs Democratic Support

Support erodes as Sinema stakes moderate claim

PHOENIX (March 22nd, 2021)- As Sen. Kyrsten Sinema cements a bipartisan and maverick approach in the U.S. Senate, Democratic voters back home are giving her low marks.

According to OH Predictive Insights’ most recent Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP), Sinema is walking a fine line in her home state after refusing to support the elimination of the Senate filibuster and her high-profile opposition to including a $15 minimum wage in the recently-passed COVID-19 relief package. These moves have cut into her support, with nearly equal shares of voters holding favorable (39%) and unfavorable (40%) opinions of her.

This AZPOP, conducted from March 8-12, surveyed 690 registered voters in Arizona and had a margin of error of 3.7%.

“Sinema, like John McCain and Barry Goldwater before her, is acting like a maverick,” said OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble. “Those two lions of the Senate bled support from their own party but attracted plenty of independent voters to ensure reelection every six years. Sinema must hope she can do the same.”

The survey found that Sinema is viewed favorably by just 50 percent of Democratic voters, but 30 percent of her party views her unfavorably. Sinema is upside down with Republicans by 22%. Sinema is more popular among voters over 65-years-old with 50% favorability and 43% unfavorability. Voters 18-34 years old favor her just 25%, while 35% view her unfavorably.

Looking at a voter’s ideology – as opposed to simply their party registration – we find a clearer picture of what drives voters’ lukewarm opinion of Sinema. Liberal Democrats are closely divided over the Senator – less than half (45%) have a favorable view of her, while 40% have an unfavorable one. On the other hand, Sinema is far more popular among Democrats who think of themselves as moderate or conservative, with a favorability rating nearly triple that of her unfavorability.

Crossing the aisle to the GOP side, we find that Sinema is treading water among liberal- or moderate-identifying Republicans, with only a net -4% favorability (40% favorable /44% unfavorable). Still, among conservative Republicans, her unfavorables (59%) are twice as large as her favorables (28%). Among Independents, she’s barely above water at 36% favorability and 34% unfavorability.

What is likely causing the most consternation between Arizona’s Democratic voters and their senior Senator is her vote against including the minimum wage increase in the COVID-19 relief bill recently signed into law. Sinema remains a divisive figure among those who favor a $15 federal minimum wage (42% favorable/37% unfavorable) and those who oppose the increase (36% favorable/47% unfavorable).

As a more traditional Democrat, Mark Kelly’s favorability ratings are more predictable. A positive net favorability of +68% (79% favorable/11% unfavorable) among Democrats is in stark contrast to his Republican net favorability of -51% (21% favorable/72% unfavorable). Independents show +19% favorability (49% favorable/30% unfavorable). Kelly is also more popular than Sinema among those in favor of the $15 minimum wage (69% favorable/18% unfavorable) and is more unpopular among those who oppose it (24% favorable/67% unfavorable).

“Willingness to cross the aisle is always a good trait to have in a general election; however, it remains to be seen if Sinema will pay any price in a primary election for her bipartisan reputation,” said OHPI Data Analyst Jacob Joss.

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Methodology: This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights from March 8th to March 12th, 2021, from an Arizona Statewide Registered Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education. The sample size was 690 registered voters, with an MoE of ± 3.7%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Poll toplines and crosstabs can be found here

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 serves political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing with key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 480-313-1837 or submit a request online at OHPredictive.com.

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