Democrats are heavily favored to hold Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in Tuesday’s special election for the seat formerly held by Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a new poll from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-learning firm, shows.
Ron Barber, a former aide to Giffords, leads with 53 percent support, compared with 41 percent for Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly. Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis polled at 4 percent. The survey of 1,058 likely voters was conducted from June 9-10, and has a 3 percent margin of error.
Giffords survived after being shot in the head at a district event near Tucson in January 2011. Barber was also wounded in the shooting, and six people were killed. Giffords resigned her seat a little over a year later in January 2012, in order to focus full time on her recovery.
Barber is already pulling ahead thanks to heavy early voting, PPP’s Tom Jensen writes in his analysis.
Barber appears to have the race pretty much already locked up. 57% of voters say they’ve already cast their ballots, and with that group Barber enjoys a 21 point advantage at 58-37. People planning to vote tomorrow are much more evenly split with 46% for Barber and 45% for Kelly.
Barber’s winning 90% of the Democratic vote, while Kelly’s getting just 82% of Republicans. Barber also has a 51-34 advantage with independents. Barber’s advantage is pretty thorough along demographic lines — he leads with men, women, whites, Hispanics, and voters in every age group.
Giffords’s favorability rating is 67 percent, against 24 percent who view her unfavorably. Barber’s favorability rating is 54 percent to 38 percent. Kelly’s numbers are underwater, with only 37 percent viewing him favorably, compared with 59 percent who view him unfavorably.
“Democrats are likely to win this race comfortably tomorrow,” writes PPP President Dean Debnam. “But the unusual circumstances of the contest make its relevance to any other contest later this year pretty limited. It’s not often you have a special election to replace an incumbent who resigned with a 67% favorability rating.”