A poll conducted last Wednesday by OH Predictive Insights shows Republican candidate Debbie Lesko has a ten point lead over Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni, 53 percent to 43 percent, in next Tuesday’s special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District to replace former Rep. Trent Franks.
But an “epoll” from the Emerson College Polling Society conducted between last Thursday, April 12 and Sunday, April 15 gives Tiperneni a one point lead over Lesko, 46 percent to 45 percent. Since that one point lead falls within the poll’s 5.2 percent margin of error, the race, at least according to Emerson, is a statistical dead heat.
The OH Predictive Insights Poll has a margin of error of 4.38 percent and was conducted on 500 likely special election voters using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) “comprised of Republicans, Independents and Party Non-Declared in AZ-08. The sample is based on voter history, and respondents self-qualified as likely to vote in the Special Election.”
The Emerson College ePoll has a 5.2 percent margin of error and was conducted on 4oo likely voters “using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only and an online panel provided by Survey Sampling International (SSI).”
“The GOP is in a prime position for a much-needed win as we head into the mid-term elections,” Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, the Phoenix, Arizona- based firm whose poll shows the GOP’s Lesko in the lead, said.
“With such a heavy GOP registration advantage this race appears a bridge too far for Democrats,” Noble added.
The Boston, Massachusetts-based Emerson College Poll offered a significantly different analysis of the race:
Tipirneni is the most popular candidate in the race, with a 49% favorable and 29% unfavorable opinion. Lesko is slightly underwater with a 43% favorable and 45% unfavorable opinion. Trent Franks, the former congressman who resigned the seat, has a 24% favorable and 49% unfavorable opinion. President Trump’s job approval in the district is 44% approve and 46% disapprove.
Education is the most important issue for 1 in 3 voters (33%), while immigration is equally as important (33%). Healthcare (15%) and the economy (10%) rounded out the top four issues in the district.
Voters who said education was their most important issue are breaking for Tipirneni 67% to 22%, and similar with the issue of healthcare – Tipirneni leads 69% to 26% among voters. Lesko leads among voters who said immigration was their most important issue 82% to 10%.
Unlike previous elections where the Democrats held strong leads with women and Republicans held strong leads with men, in this race gender does not appear to be a significant variable. Party affiliation however is driving the vote as 86% of Democrats are voting for Tipirneni while 78% of Republicans are voting for Lesko. Independents are breaking for Tipirneni 54% to 36%.
“Tipirneni voters appear more excited than Lesko voters with 52% saying they are very excited compared with 43% of Lesko voters,” the Emerson College ePoll notes.
Should the Democratic candidate Tipireni win Tuesday’s special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, it will represent a major boost for the Democratic Party’s efforts to create a “Blue Wave” of momentum to win back majority control of the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections.
Should Lesko prevail and keep the seat in Republican hands, it will keep the net gain number of seats the Democrats need to win in November to reach their majority goal at 23.
A Lesko victory will also take some of the air out of the “Blue Wave” media momentum the Democrats have been encouraging since the day President Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.