by Jim Nintzel
Jessica Schultz, the spokeswoman for Congressman Ron Barber's reelection campaign, shares a polling memo from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research that shows Barber is leading likely GOP nominee Martha McSally by 13 percentage points and Democratic primary challenger Matt Heinz by more than 60 percentage points.
To: Interested Parties
From: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
On June 12th, Ron Barber won a special election in the old Republican-leaning 8th Congressional District by a 52 to 45 percent margin. A recent survey in the politically competitive 2nd Congressional District shows Barber very well positioned to win again in November.
A poll of 503 likely voters in Arizona’s new 2nd Congressional District shows Barber enjoying a strong profile, huge name recognition and a large margin over the likely Republican nominee. Moreover, this margin is durable. Even after voters hear about McSally’s pioneering service in the U.S. Air Force, Barber’s majority holds.
This survey was prepared and supervised by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, Inc. Calling took place from July 17-22, 2012. These findings are subject to sampling error of +/- 4.4 points at 95 percent confidence interval. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner also fielded a 200 sample survey of voters likely to vote in the August Democratic primary. This survey carries a sampling error of +/- 6.93.
The new district is competitive in partisan terms. The new Second District was written to provide a competitive political environment and lives up to its billing. Voters divide 33 percent Democratic, 32 percent Republican in self-ascribed party identification. The presidential race is evenly contested at 47 percent Obama, 46 percent Romney.
Barber opens with a strong majority. Ron Barber enjoys the support of a 53 percent majority of voters (40 percent McSally) and a 13 point margin. In doing so, he outperforms the President by 12 points.
Barber’s majority is stable. Even after voters hear profiles of the two candidates—the McSally profile drawn mostly from her own words and detailing her pioneering military service—Barber holds a 53 to 42 percent margin over his likely opponent. After voters hear balanced attacks from both sides, Barber holds a 51 to 42 percent majority.
Despite recent attack ads, Barber is popular here. Collectively, the Jesse Kelly campaign, the National Republican Campaign Committee and allied independent expenditures spent over 1.5 million dollars attacking Ron Barber’s character. Nonetheless, he enjoys a 47 percent positive, 28 percent negative personal appeal score in the district. He is the most popular public figure tested here outside of Gabrielle Giffords. At 87 percent name recognition, voters already know this candidate; Martha McSally has some work to do introducing herself to votes here (42 percent name recognition).
The Democratic primary will not be competitive. Barber enjoys huge numbers among likely Democratic primary voters (81 percent favorable) and leads Matt Heinz 77 to 13 percent in a head-to-head matchup for the nomination.
Change is the nature of politics, but voters in this district have embraced Ron Barber and he will be very difficult to beat in November.