by Jim Nintzel
It's a big day for polls. We've already seen surveys from both Congressman Ron Barber (noting that he has a big lead over his rivals) and from the League of Conservation Voters, noting that Democrat Richard Carmona and Republican Jeff Flake are in a close race.
Now Republican Jonathan Paton has released a survey by North Star Opinion Research showing that he's in a tight race with Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick:
Our survey of likely voters in Arizona’s new 1st Congressional District shows a dead-heat between Republican Jonathan Paton and Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.
The former Congresswoman holds a slim 46 to 43 percent lead over Paton on the ballot, with 12 percent of voters still undecided. Paton has a good chance to close this gap as he becomes better-known to voters — despite a 39 to 30 percent Democrat to Republican advantage in party registration, which is reflected in the sample, 54 percent of 1st district voters say that they are conservative.
Moreover, Kirkpatrick’s ties to the national Democratic Party and President Obama are likely to be a drag on her candidacy. Indeed 59 percent of voters disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while just 36 percent approve. Among independents, 58 percent disapprove of his job, while 37 percent approve. Additionally, Mitt Romney currently leads Obama on the presidential ballot by 58 to 35 percent, including 55 to 34 percent among independents.
The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted July 25-26, 2012, and has a margin of error of ±4.90 percent.
Update: Paton called to mention that while his campaign passed along the poll via press release, he did not commission the poll.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Johnson, spokeswoman for the Kirkpatrick campaign, emailed to throw some cold water on the poll, noting that a GOP strategist, Kurt Davis, had questioned its accuracy in the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet, which noted that the pollster did not release crosstabs.
Paton told us he believed the poll was legit. Either way, both sides will probably be able to use it for fundraising.