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Giffords leads with Dems, Palin with GOP in Senate primary poll
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Giffords leads with Dems, Palin with GOP in Senate primary poll

  • Bill Nugent, the owner of the Shanty Cafe, 401 E. 9th St., hangs a banner supporting a Senate run by Gabrielle Giffords, March 3.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comBill Nugent, the owner of the Shanty Cafe, 401 E. 9th St., hangs a banner supporting a Senate run by Gabrielle Giffords, March 3.
  • Bill Nugent, the owner of the Shanty Cafe, 401 E. 9th St., hangs a banner supporting a Senate run by Gabrielle Giffords, March 3.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comBill Nugent, the owner of the Shanty Cafe, 401 E. 9th St., hangs a banner supporting a Senate run by Gabrielle Giffords, March 3.

Arizona Democrats favor U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as their nominee to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl.

The state's Republicans pick ex-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to be their next presidential nominee. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is their top choice as a Senate candidate, with 35 percent support. 33 percent choose Jeff Flake and 11 percent J.D Hayworth.

Giffords is the choice of 46 percent in a poll released Wednesday by Public Policy Polling. 28 percent of Arizona Democrats favor former Attorney General Terry Goddard, their nominee for governor last year.

Giffords is still undergoing rehab following the Jan. 8 mass shooting at a "Congress On Your Corner" event at a Northwest Side grocery store. While supporters have floated the idea of her running for Senate, it's still unknown if she will take that step. Some detractors have called upon her to resign from her congressional seat, saying her recovery denies representation to her constituents.

The only other Dem to hit double digits is ex-Rep. Harry Mitchell, with 11 percent. Phil Gordon garners 8 percent, and Felicia Rotellini 6 percent. Last year's Senate nominee, former Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman, gets 5 percent, as does Ed Pastor. U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke gets the nod from 2 percent.

"It's definitely not a strong sign for Glassman," said an analysis from the pollster. "It doesn't look like Democrats are interested in heading down that road again."

For the Republicans, Palin's candidacy is an unlikely scenario, as she doesn't live in the state. Her daughter Bristol did recently purchase a home in Maricopa, south of Phoenix, leading to speculation about the ex-governor's intentions regarding a run for office in Arizona.

Hayworth's chances aren't much better, PPP said:

One more plausible primary challenger who would not be a challenge to Flake is Hayworth. Republican voters flat out don't like him, with 33% expressing a favorable opinion of him to 45% with a negative one. He trails Flake 54-27 in a hypothetical contest.

In what PPP called a "healthy lead," Romney leads other presidential contenders with 24 percent. Ron Paul, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are supported by 12 percent each.

Others with support: 10 percent each for Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, 8 percent for Donald Trump, and 5 percent for Tim Pawlenty.

"This is just more evidence that Romney has a very strong pocket of support in the West- he's also led Republican polling we've done over the course of this year in Nevada, Colorado, and California," PPP said:

This is just more evidence that Romney has a very strong pocket of support in the West- he's also led Republican polling we've done over the course of this year in Nevada, Colorado, and California. Romney has large leads with voters describing themselves as 'moderate' or 'somewhat conservative.' It's not a surprise that he trails with 'very conservative' voters, as that's a demographic he's weak with everywhere, but it is a surprise who leads with that group- Bachmann. It's an early sign that as she becomes better known she has the potential to become the primary conservative alternative to Romney as this race unfolds.

This poll also makes it more clear that the short lived Trump candidacy has imploded- he's in seventh place and beyond that Republican voters in the state just don't like him. His favorability is 37/51.

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