Arizona U.S. Senate Race Could Be An Issue For GOP In 2012

If the GOP wants to capture the U.S. Senate in 2012 (Republicans need to net four seats for control), the party cannot afford to lose the Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Republican Jon Kyl. If Democrat Richard Carmona becomes his party’s nominee, the Hispanic vote could be the difference. Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) has more:

Republican Jeff Flake [is] leading Democrat Richard Carmona by only a 40-36 margin.

Carmona barely has half of Flake’s name recognition but his numbers break down 17% positive to 11% negative with the few voters that know who he is.

Carmona is seen favorably by a 13/12 spread even by Republicans, probably owing to his past as a Bush appointee, and he gets 10% of the GOP vote against Flake. That’s more crossover support than we’ve been seeing for most Democrats in the last few years. Flake takes 12% of the Democratic vote though, and has an early 29-26 lead with independents.

Carmona’s early competitiveness has a lot to do with strong support from Hispanic voters. He leads Flake 56-19 with them in his bid to become the state’s first Hispanic Senator.

With the Senate landscape in 2012 offering Democrats few opportunities for offense these numbers suggest Arizona may provide the party’s 3rd best chance of picking up a GOP held seat next year, behind only Massachusetts and Nevada.

Full survey results available at: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_AZ_1123424.pdf

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