Given six names to choose from, more than one in four likely Arizona Republican primary voters chose Dr. Kelli Ward to replace now retiring Sen. Jeff Flake in a new poll from Data Orbital.
Respondents were given six names as well as the options “undecided” and “refused” to answer the question, “If the Republican Primary for US Senate were held today and your choices were (read choices from below), who would you vote for?” The names listed as options were [former Arizona State Senator] Kelli Ward, [Rep.] Martha McSally, [former Rep.] Matt Salmon, [Rep.] David Schweikert, [former Rep.] John Shadegg, and Arizona Board of Regents member Jay Heiler.
Ward took the lead with 26.4 percent. Eight points behind was McSally with 18.6 percent. Salmon trailed with just 10.4 percent with the three other names polling in the low to mid-single digits. Undecideds were just 28 percent with ten months left until Arizona’s August 28, 2018, primary election day. Just over six percent refused to answer the question.
71.2 percent of respondents polled had a “strongly” or “somewhat” favorable view of [President] Donald Trump. Just 3.2 percent were undecided or refused to answer.
When asked about Ward, 47 percent of respondents had a “strongly” or “somewhat” favorable view with another 18.3 percent neutral and 10.7 percent either undecided or refused to answer.
74.7 percent of those polled said they were “extremely motivated” to vote in the 2018 Arizona Republican primary election.
The 500 poll respondents surveyed from October 26 – 28 were described by the Arizona Republic as likely Republican primary voters. Poll results released by Data Orbital identified that there were 500 polled and of those 84 percent were Republican while another 16 percent were Independents.
Ward received praise from President Trump in August for challenging vehement anti-Trump Senator Flake. In late September Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked candidate lost for a second time to grassroots insurgent Judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s Republican primary runoff election. Moore had received strong backing from conservative leaders including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Palin rallied on the ground for Moore as did former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon. The same day of the Moore victory, establishment Sen. Bob Corker announced he would not seek re-election in 2018.
Bannon rallied for Ward in mid-October, calling out McConnell, the “permanent political class and the globalist set of elites” and establishment losses. He said of the D.C. elite, “they have a business model that works for them — the consultant, lobbyist, donor, corporatist, and politician class,” but added encouragement for the crowd, “They’re afraid of you…You are an existential threat to their business model.” Conservative radio and television host Laura Ingraham headlined the Ward rally alongside Bannon. “I know she’s not gonna disappoint,…This is a pivotal time for our country. We need to do this, we need to do this now,” Ingraham said of electing Ward to replace Flake.
A week after the Ingraham-Bannon rally for Ward, and amidst polling showing Ward leading, Flake announced he could not and would not run for re-election in 2018.
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