by Jim Nintzel
The Gingrich surge is alive in Arizona: Newt now leads the GOP pack here, with the support of 28 percent of GOP voters, compared to 23 percent for Mitt Romney, 17 percent for Herman Cain, 8 percent for Ron Paul, 5 percent for Jon Huntsman, 3 percent for Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum and zero percent—yes, zero percent—for Gary Johnson.
That's according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling. Read the details here.
Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling notes:
Gingrich's leads are a result of Cain's support finally starting to really fall apart. For an 8 week period from the end of September through last week Cain was over 20% in every single poll we did at the state or national level. Over that period of time we also repeatedly found that Gingrich was the second choice of Cain voters. Now that Cain has slipped below that 20% threshold of support he had consistently held, Gingrich is proving to be the beneficiary.
One thing that's striking in looking at Gingrich's numbers … is that he leads among both Republicans who identify with the Tea Party and those who don't. … [I]n Arizona he's up 33-18 on Romney with Tea Partiers and 26-25 with Republicans who don't identify that way.
The Arizona … numbers are more evidence that even with one competitor of his after another collapsing, Romney is just not showing the ability to make a surge. … [I]n Arizona his 23% now is basically identical to the 24% we found for him when we polled the state in May.
There is one piece of good news for Romney though …. In Arizona he and Cain are each the second choice of 30% of Gingrich supporters with Perry at 11% and no one else in double digits. Assuming that Cain continues to fade, Romney will be well positioned if Gingrich does end up imploding the way every other flavor of the month in this race has.
There's reason to think Gingrich could get stronger before he gets weaker though. … [I]in Arizona he's the second choice of 39% of Cain voters to 10% for Romney. If Cain keeps going down, Gingrich is likely to keep going up.
Also, it appears that Jeff Flake is running away with the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate next year:
Arizona looks like a snoozer with Jeff Flake already polling at 53% to 7% for Wil Cardon, 5% for Bryan Hackbarth, 2% for Clair Van Steenwyk, and 1% for Douglas McKee.
Flake is pretty well known and well liked with 48% of voters expressing a favorable opinion of him to only 13% with a negative one. That net favorability of +35 with primary voters is up from +28 when we last polled Arizona in May, so he appears to be wearing well as he becomes better known. Even though he received a fair amount of publicity with his candidacy announcement last week Cardon has only 18% name recognition and it breaks down 7% rating him favorably and 11% unfavorably, not terribly impressive numbers.
Cardon may have trouble challenging Flake on the right- that's actually where Flake has his strongest support right now with 62% of 'very conservative' voters expressing a positive opinion of him and 63% planning to vote for him in the primary. It looks like a pretty up hill battle for Cardon.