Yeah, Pennsylvania's Great. But Have You Tried ARIZONA?
Go West, young man! Don't spend all your time and energy in the Rust Belt, because we have just as good a shot at taking Arizona's 11 electoral votes as we do Wisconsin's 10. And we have a better than even chance of picking up a Senate seat in the Grand Canyon state if we can somehow induce our voters to show up like they did in 2018, when they rejected Martha McSally the first time. Which is why the senator just hit the panic button and begged for a bailout from out-of-state donors.
This morning, Public Policy Polling (PPP), a Democratic pollster, published new numbers on Arizona and Iowa. Trump has never been popular in Arizona, and 52 percent of respondents to a phone/text poll conducted in the past two weeks disapprove of the president. Even against a historically unpopular candidate in 2016 (we're not going to fight about this now!), Trump was only able to win by 3.6 percent, as compared to Romney's 9 point margin in 2012. And while he polls basically even with Joe Biden, and only slightly ahead of Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg, about 8 percent of respondents remain undecided.
And that's where it gets interesting. Because 80 percent of the undecideds said they disapproved of Trump, and a majority of those same respondents broke for Clinton four years ago. Here's how PPP broke it down:
In Arizona more than 80% of the undecideds in every match up between Trump and the individual Democratic candidates disapproves of Trump. And the undecideds also voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by anywhere from 45-50 points. If you allocate the undecideds based on whether they approve of Trump or not, all of the Democrats move into leads ranging from 4-6 points. If you allocate the undecideds based on whether they voted for Clinton or Trump in 2016, all the Democrats move into leads ranging from 2-4 points.
They also showed a similar trend in Iowa. But it's 55 degrees in Phoenix and 21 in Des Moines. So let's not muddy it up right now by traipsing across the country. Instead we'll check in with Senator Martha McSally, who got beat by Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, and was then appointed to sit out John McCain's term by Republican Governor Doug Ducey. McSally's now facing Mark Kelly, an IRL astronaut married to the wildly popular former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and McSally's getting absolutely hammered for her vote to get rid of the mandate for health insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.
We don't have the resources to fight. If I went up on TV right now, my campaign coffers would be empty. If we're going to fight back with a TV ad, it's going to cost us millions of dollars. [...]
We need close air support to show up. There's outside groups. We can't talk to them. We can't invite them, but we pray for them every day. We need conservative outside groups, you know, to wake up, and get involved, and start muddying up the landscape a little bit, so I'm not just sitting here taking incoming and not having any A-10s show up, you know overhead, to help me out.
Whiiiiiiiiiiiine. Why can't Martha McSally's campaign coordinate with outside PACs directly? Unfair! Why won't they come in and run attack ads to smear Mark Kelly, since McSally is such a crap candidate that she got outraised the last three fundraising quarters and can't afford to do it herself. Boohoo!
Oh, hey, check out this hilariously mean ad that the Democratic PAC "Middle Class Fighting to Restore Arizona's Unity and Decency," AKA "McFraud," just put on the air.
McFraud PAC: McSallys Restaurant www.youtube.com
In August, an OH Predictive Insights Poll captioned "Kelly Flies by McSally in Q3" (badum-tssssssss) had Kelly up 46-41, with 13 percent undecided. PPP's polling yesterday was basically the same, and it showed McSally's approval rating is 10 points underwater. Which may or may not be the result of clinging to Donald Trump like a barnacle.
The bottom line is, we can win here. And unlike in Georgia or North Carolina, we've had a strong Democratic Senate candidate from the get-go, sparing us the expense and infighting of a protracted primary. So don't sleep on the Grand Canyon State, kids! And stay away from McSally's "Disingenuous" Fries -- they'll only give you gas.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.