by Jim Nintzel
Republican congressional candidate Martha McSally's campaign has released a poll showing her leading Democratic Congressman Ron Barber by 3 percentage point in Southern Arizona's Congressional District 2.
The survey, done by polling firm OnMessage, shows McSally at 45 percent and Barber at 42 percent. That margin is within the poll's margin of error of plus/minus 4.9 percent.
McSally spokeswoman Kristen Douglas said in a press release that the poll showed Barber is "in big trouble and voters are ready for a fresh start. The numbers speak for themselves: The more Southern Arizonans know Ron Barber, the less they want him to represent them."
Barber's campaign team declined to release internal poll numbers but said the OnMessage poll did not match up with its recent survey numbers.
"Southern Arizonans are going to support Ron Barber in November because we know that he is on our side," said Barber spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn. "He is not going to vote for a reckless plan to raise taxes on the middle class and strangle Medicare, which is what Martha McSally said she would vote for."
OnMessage did early polling in the 2012 race between Barber and McSally; Barber narrowly defeated McSally in that contest by about 2,500 votes. In the August 2012 survey, OnMessage showed McSally trailing Barber by 5 percentage points.
You can take a look at the entire poll here, but the polling memo suggests that Barber is being dragged down by the unpopularity of President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act:
What’s important to note here is the extent to which the President’s floundering ratings are hurting Barber. We’re dealing with a Congressman who is doing everything he can to convince the voters he’s an independently-minded moderate, yet 85% of voters who disapprove of Barber also disapprove of President Obama, highlighting the extent to which voters undoubtedly connect the two.
Congressman Ron Barber is being forced to deal with the repercussions of his Party’s failures in Washington. The President’s signature legislative accomplishment continues to become more and more unpopular among second district voters and there is no evidence to suggest that trend will change any time soon. As a result voters, especially swing voters, are steadily moving away from Barber. While this race will undoubtedly remain close to the end, national trends and McSally’s efforts have now placed the race in her favor.