The Arizona Globe got its hands on a survey conducted by the PAC supporting Abraham Hamadeh for Congress, and it includes several tantalizing bits of info regarding this hotly contested race.
The seat unexpectedly opened two weeks ago when Congresswoman Debbie Lesko decided not to seek reelection. This survey was conducted October 24 and 25th among 400 registered Republican and Independent voters in the Eighth CD. That’s a high n-number, giving the poll a margin of error under 5%. The survey was conducted when Hamadeh and Blake Masters were the only two announced candidates. In other words, Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma and State Senator Anthony Kern had not yet entered the race, and neither had former Congressman Trent Franks.
Still, the takeaways cannot be ignored.
According to pollster Kellyanne Conway of KAConsulting LLC, who conducted the survey for Arizona’s Bold Era (ABE) PAC, “Abe Hamadeh enjoys a net +29% favorability rating, as over 4-in-10 have a positive opinion of him, and only 12% are unfavorable. Hamadeh enjoys higher levels of favorability among key voting groups: College-educated voters (49%), suburban residents (49%), Conservatives (46%), Ages 50-64 (47%).”
She covers some of the same ground the Globe already has observed, namely that Hamadeh received 6,000 more votes than Masters in CD8 in 2022 and beat his Democrat opponent Kris Mayes by a larger margin than Masters beat Mark Kelly. According to the memo, “56% majority say they are more likely to vote Hamadeh after learning this.”
The most revealing aspect of this survey has to do with the so-called “informed ballot.” This is consultant speak for “how voters respond to the massive amounts we’re going to spend on messages about how great our guy is and how terrible the other guy is.”
“Blake Masters faces a buzzsaw of skepticism and growing opposition in light of comments he made about Social Security while a candidate in 2022, his association with a prominent and well- funded group trying to stop President Trump from reassuming office (Club for Growth),” reads the memo and then boils that down to data points:
“A 56% majority are less likely (including 38% much less likely) to vote for him after hearing [Masters’] own words about privatizing Social Security and 61% are less likely (including 45% much less likely) to vote for [Masters] after learning an anti- Trump Republican organization that has spent millions against Trump pushed [Masters] to run for Congress.”
Now, the problem with these “informed ballot” hypotheticals is that the pollsters paid to create them always test the most effective negative messages against the opponent, and sometimes include positive messages for the good guy. But they almost never include a sincere effort to test the efficacy of negative messages against the good guy.
You can be assured that Blake Masters and whatever PAC is supporting him is testing anti-Abe messages – and probably messages against Toma, Kern, and Franks. If you could run in a vacuum, where voters only hear messages about how great your candidate is, and how terrible the opponents are, you’d probably have a pretty good record of electoral success. It don’t work that way.
However, Team Hamadeh will likely take comfort from this survey because the amount that the negative Masters message caused his voters to abandon him was striking. The one that surprised me most is that 66% of voters who are favorable toward Masters are more likely to vote for Hamadeh after learning “Abe lost the election for Attorney General last year by just 280 votes, and came closer than any other Republican candidate, including Kari Lake and Blake Masters.”
Republican primary voters have habitually not cared too much about electability. That has undoubtedly hurt the party over the last three cycles, when selecting candidates who couldn’t compete in November took a backseat to feeling good about whoever was picked in the primary. Here, the polling is telling us that Republican voters care as much about retaining the seat as anything else. And it’ll be tough for a candidate supported by the hedge-funded, plutocratic, Trump-hating, centrist Club for Growth to get to Abe’s right in the minds of primary voters.
Until the other candidates start making their cases, it’s very hard to get any realistic sense of where this very fluid race stands. What’s clear, however, is that a well messaged campaign by Abraham Hamadeh might just send him to Washington.
NOTE: This is part one of a two-part story based on the Globe’s exclusive first look at this poll. We wanted to get this story up before some other site scooped us, so we’ll dive deeper into the crosstabs in a second story tomorrow.
- Consultant Class Makes Bank on Ranked Choice Proposal - February 19, 2024
- Mitchell Draws a Republican Challenger - February 7, 2024
- Trump Endorsed Hamadeh; Why Is Masters Acting Like He’s Won 45’s Support? - January 30, 2024