Campaigns Whiteboard

McSally internal poll shows neck-and-neck primary with Ward

An internal polling memo conducted by Rep. Martha McSally’s campaign and obtained by POLITICO shows the congresswoman running neck and neck with former state legislator Kelli Ward in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary.

The survey has McSally earning 38 percent of the vote to Ward’s 36 percent, with 26 percent undecided. Public polling in the race, mostly IVR surveys, has shown Ward with a significant lead over McSally, who is yet to officially launch her campaign. Ward, who lost to Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2016 GOP primary, was initially challenging incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake before his retirement.

“Contrary to what some public polls suggest, Kelli Ward does not hold a strong position in the Primary race for United States Senate in Arizona. The limitations of these poorly-conducted surveys have created a misleading dialogue about the state of the nomination contest,” pollsters Chris Wilson and Alex Muir write.

“In fact, before any campaign efforts, Representative McSally starts off with a two-point lead on the ballot in a head-to-head race with Ward with one-in-four Republican primary voters are undecided. This is a remarkable starting place for a campaign against Ward, who has been running for statewide office for two years now. The McSally campaign is in an excellent position to build a winning Primary coalition simply by increasing her statewide name recognition, and thus building on the existing ballot advantage.”

The poll also shows McSally leading with both men and women over age 55, who tend to be the most reliable primary voters. Among men 55 and older, she has a 40 percent to 38 percent edge. Among women 55 and older, she leads 39 percent to 36 percent.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the likely Democratic nominee.
The poll of 500 likely GOP primary voters, conducted Nov. 15 and 16, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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