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Poll: Kyrsten Sinema Would Lose to Progressive Challengers If Primary Were Now

Data for Progress finds that Sinema would lose every head to head challenge with potential primary candidates.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema speaking with supporters at a neighborhood canvas hosted by the Arizona Education Association at Provision Coffee Arcadia in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 24, 2018.

New polling by Data for Progress suggests that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) would lose her primary to progressive challengers if it were held now instead of 2024. The senator’s approval ratings have been falling fast as she’s currently at the center of tense budget negotiations in Washington as she and fellow conservative Democrats block her party’s agenda in Congress.

The poll asked 467 likely Democratic primary voters in Arizona who they would vote for among a slate of potential progressive challengers like Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), an early favorite to run against Sinema in 2024.

Sinema’s best chance at winning the primary would require running against multiple challengers, Data for Progress wrote — and even in that scenario, the poll finds she would lose. With five potential candidates including Gallego and Sinema, Gallego would come out on top with 23 percent of the vote and Sinema would be in second place with 19 percent. The other hypothetical candidates like Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona) trail not too far behind.

Further, in head-to-head polls, Sinema loses to every candidate. Gallego beats her 62 percent to 23 percent in a head to head poll, and she gets at most 26 percent of the vote against other hypothetical candidates.

The polling shows that Sinema is “likely to face an uphill battle” when she faces reelection in 2024, said Gustavo Sanchez, Principal and data analyst for Data for Progress. The data suggests that “Independents and non-registered Democrats do not plan to turn out in the primary to save her,” Sanchez continued. “Taken together, it is increasingly clear that Sinema will face a near-impossible path to victory in her upcoming Democratic primary.”

Sinema’s job approval is dismal among those polled. Only 25 percent of likely Democratic primary voters approve of her performance, while 70 percent disapprove — a 45-point margin. Nearly half of those polled say that they strongly disapprove of her performance. Other Democratic officials like Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) and President Joe Biden, meanwhile, have 85 percent approval.

These findings echo a Morning Consult poll from earlier this month that found Sinema’s approval among Democrats in her state had fallen 21 points over the course of the year. Earlier this year, 67 percent of Democrats in the state approved of her job performance; in July and September, that dropped to 46 percent.

The conservative Democratic senator has centered herself in negotiations for the Build Back Better Act, which Democrats and progressives hope will include proposals such as the poverty-reducing child tax credit and the massively popular prescription drug price negotiation plan. Sinema, however, has allied herself with conservative, deep-pocketed lobbyists and has been fighting to shrink the bill and cut out programs that progressives say are crucial to helping to reduce growing inequality in the U.S.

Sinema has kept her demands from the public, but what little is known about her position on the bill have frustrated members of her party. The Arizona senator is against allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, for instance, even though it’s one of the key proposals of the bill, providing the dual benefit of raising revenue for the government and providing a service to the public.

If Sinema were to support the Build Back Better Act in its entirety, meanwhile, Data for Progress’s poll finds that she could face better chances against potential primary challengers.

94 percent of likely voters polled said that they would be more likely to support a candidate who was in favor of lowering prescription drug prices. A similarly high portion of likely voters said that they would support a candidate if they wanted to increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy, expand Medicare and incentivize clean energy, provisions that Sinema either outright opposes or would likely align herself against.

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