Arizona’s Family/HighGround Statewide Survey: Hobbs has slight lead over Lake in governor’s race

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 3:45 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:36 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona’s Family has partnered with HighGround, the oldest public affairs firm in the state, to take a closer look at the biggest races in this year’s midterm election and possible outcomes by polling voters.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted among likely voters from October 12 through 13, 2022, with a random sample of 500 people. The poll surveyed likely Arizona 2022 General Election voters with a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender. The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to landline and cell phone users. Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at +8% GOP. The margin of error is ±4.3%.

In Arizona, midterms have historically favored Republicans, and over half of the electorate in this election are 50 or over.

The race for governor

Most of the focus this year has been on the governor’s race between Kari Lake and Katie Hobbs. HighGround’s survey asked participants that if the election for Arizona governor were held today, who would they vote for? According to survey results, it’s down to a one-point advantage, with 45.8% for Hobbs and 44.8% for Lake. Factor in the margin of error and this race is considered a statistical tie. “We knew it was going to be a tight race. We’re not taking any vote for granted,” said Hobbs.

“We’ve modeled a conservative Republican turnout but if folks don’t turn out around them, if we don’t see these independents show up, if we don’t see some of these younger voters show up, it will benefit the Republicans,” explained Paul Bentz, HighGround Senior Vice President for Research and Strategy. “What we’re seeing here, for example, in the Lake versus Hobbs race, Lake is losing about 10 points worth of Republicans. And that’s noteworthy because that basically offsets a pretty decent-sized chunk of the GOP advantage.”

Turnout can be a big question mark. Bentz expects there to be 600,000 fewer Arizonans who will vote in this year’s midterms versus the 2020 general election. “When the president is not at the top of the ticket, turnout is down in Arizona,” Bentz said.

Who’s voting based on gender, age and location?

Looking at the numbers, Hobbs has a big lead among Independent voters, 60% to Lake’s 35%. There’s also a wide margin when it comes to gender, with 50.8% of women saying they’ll vote for Hobbs. That’s the same percentage of men surveyed who say they’ll vote for Lake. That suggests that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has had an effect on women. On the other hand, Lake’s appeal to male voters suggests they’re focused on more economic-related issues such as inflation and gas prices.

HighGround’s survey shows Hobbs commands multiple age groups, with 58.3% to 28.3% of voters under 29, 53.3% to 40% for 30 to 39-year-olds and 49.4% to 37% for those aged 40-49. That changes when you hit 50 or over.

The survey also shows Lake holds a massive advantage with older voters, primarily those aged 65 and older, 53.1% to 38.8%. One reason, according to HighGround’s research, is the lack of a gubernatorial debate.

“I do think Blake Masters’ tabloid newspaper, with eight pages worth of information on Masters himself as well as criticism of Katie Hobbs for not being willing to debate,” Bentz said. “I do think that has played a role in sort of helping them solidify their 65 and older segment.”

That wasn’t necessarily the case based on numbers following the primary election in August, where HighGround says it looked like voters 65 and older could be up for grabs. Since then, based on other issues like the economy and an increase in ads and other communications, that age group seems to have trended back towards Republican.

Another consideration is who voters will pick based on where in the state they live. Not surprisingly, HighGround says Maricopa County voters will make up most of the turnout. But it’s in rural areas where Lake is seemingly in control at 64%. HighGround says Lake is also doing well in Mohave (53%), Yavapai (45%) and Pinal (46%) counties.

Key takeaways from the survey

So what are some of the biggest takeaways from HighGround’s survey? When it comes to the governor and other big races, there are a few key factors this year such as women trending toward Democrats. Then there are voters who don’t identify with one party or the other.

“It does not appear to me that Republicans are all that interested in winning Independents, which is why these races are so tight,” Bentz said. “At an eight-point Republican advantage, if Republicans were to split Independents, they would be walking away with this thing.” Arizona’s Family reached out to Lake and she said, “We are reaching out to independents. I believe our policies are best suited to solve the problems we’ve been facing for decades in Arizona and I think they’re helpful whether you’re democrat, independent or republican.”

Even though the survey shows Hobbs slightly ahead, HighGround believes the momentum remains with Lake.

Continuing Coverage

Links to our related reports as part of the Arizona’s Family/HighGround Statewide Survey:

Stay up-to-date with our election headlines and be sure to check out our Voter’s Guide, covering everything from different ways to vote, to how to track the status of your ballot.

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