A new survey from one of the nation’s top GOP pollsters shows Arizona’s Senate race is a dead heat, while the Republican candidate for governor inches slightly ahead of her Democratic rival.
Just over a week before Election Day, the polls shows Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly with the support of 47% of likely voters while Republican challenger Blake Masters is backed by 46%, the poll of 800 Arizona likely voters, shared exclusively with NBC News, said.
Fabrizio conducted for the conservative Club for Growth Action, which has endorsed Masters. Its findings reflect some other recent surveys and election forecasts, but it differs from a New York Times survey in the Senate race showing Kelly with a 6-percentage point lead. The poll’s error margin is 3.5 percentage points.
The GOP firm of Tony Fabrizio, who is part of the Wall Street Journal’s bipartisan polling team and takes surveys for top Republicans across the country, conducted the poll last week.
Libertarian candidate Mark Victor might play a spoiler role in the Senate race, according to the Fabrizio, Lee and Associates poll, which reflects the results of other surveys and election forecasts. He’s earning 3% support, but without him on the ballot, Masters and Kelly would be tied at 49% each.
In the race for governor, 50% of likely voters back Republican Kari Lake while support for Democrat Katie Hobbs stands at 47%. Unlike the Senate race, no third-party candidate’s name will appear on the gubernatorial ballot, making it a clear head-to-head contest.
In a sign of how close the races are, former President Barack Obama plans to rally Wednesday for the Democrats in Arizona.
“The Senate race has tightened a bit,” D.J. Quinlan, a top Arizona Democratic consultant, told NBC News. “Coming out of the primary, Masters faced a barrage of negative ads. So a lot of his weakness, a good percentage of it, were folks who would eventually come back to him.”
Part of the reason Republicans are returning to Masters could be the $5.5 million in TV ads in the last two weeks that were financed by Club for Growth Action, a conservative group that also paid for the Fabrizio, Lee and Associates survey, conducted from Oct. 24-26.
In the three-way race Senate race polled by Fabrizio, Masters led Kelly by 85 percent to 10 percent among Republican voters but Kelly led Masters by a wider amount among Democratic voters, 93 percent to 5 percent. Victor pulled 1 percent from each partisan group.
Among independents — the ultimate swing voters in one of the nation’s ultimate swing states — Kelly has 43 percent support and Masters is at 41 percent, while Victor is getting 9 percent of the theoretical vote.
Among white voters, the supermajority of the electorate, Kelly Masters were tied at 47 percent each, with Victor at 3 percent. Hispanic voters, who are about 18 percent of the electorate, favored Kelly at 48 percent compared to Masters at 43 and Victor 4 percent.
Quinlan noted that more Democrats have cast early votes so far in Arizona than Republicans. According to the Democratic firm TargetSmart, 820,000 Arizonans already returned their ballots, nearly 40 percent of whom are Democrats and more than 37 percent of whom are Republicans. At this point in the 2018 midterm election, Republicans were ahead of Democrats in returning early ballots by nearly 9 percentage points instead of being down by nearly 3 points in returns.
TargetSmart’s CEO, Tom Bonier, cautioned that Republicans are probably going to have a strong showing on Election Day because they’ve started shifting away from early voting, which makes forecasting the races difficult.
“It’s going to be close,” he said.
Fabrizio, Lee and Associates polled 800 likely Arizona general election voters between Oct. 24 through Oct. 26 for the Club for Growth Action — 30% by live-caller landline, 35% by live-caller interviews on cell phones and 35% via SMS text messaging. The poll's error margin is about +/- 3.5%.