Arizona’s Family/HighGround Statewide Survey: Masters closing gap with Kelly in Senate race

While the survey shows Kelly is far ahead for voters 29 and younger, Masters has a significant lead among Arizonans 65 and older.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM MST|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:18 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%.

U.S. Senate Race: It comes down to Mark Kelly or Blake Masters

Once again, HighGround asks that if the election were held today, who would you vote for? In the U.S. Senate race, voters have the choice of incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly, Donald Trump-backed GOP nominee Blake Masters and Libertarian candidate, Marc Victor.

Per HighGround’s survey, Kelly still has a three-point lead over Masters, with 42.4% to 39.6%. Victor comes in with 5.2%. HighGround says Masters is narrowing the gap, partly because of the state’s party system.

“There are Republicans, there are Democrats and then there’s ‘other.’ There’s not an Independent party within the state,” explained Paul Bentz, HighGround Senior Vice President for Research and Strategy. Of the “others,” Bentz says about two-thirds are unaffiliated voters referred to as PND, or party not declared. The other one-third are considered Independents, who were formally Republicans or Democrats. Kelly’s campaign has painted him as a moderate candidate, and it may pay off as Independents are going for Kelly 43 to 29% over Masters.

HighGround’s survey shows that Kelly’s lead among PND voters has narrowed to about five points: 39.5% to 34.6%, meaning he’s not getting as much support from Independents as he was before. Bentz adds that Masters has solidified his lead in the 65 and older category, similar to the governor’s race where a large percentage of survey participants in that age group said they would vote for Kari Lake over Katie Hobbs.

Who is voting based on party, gender age and location?

Bentz says both PND voters and those 65 and older were much more of a toss-up after the primary election. “This is a pretty big shift,” he said. “I think Republicans have done more work in the Independent sphere. They’ve spent more time talking to those audiences and they’ve also spent more time solidifying or at least stabilizing themselves in that 65 and older category.”

Another factor that could be swaying older voters, HighGround says, is an eight-page tabloid mailer with positive stories about Masters, other GOP candidates and conservative takes on issues. “Seniors will sit down and read eight pages worth of information … newsprint in long-form, they’ll read that,” Bentz said.

In other age groups, the survey shows Kelly commands a dominant lead among voters aged 29 and younger, with 58.3% to 23.3% for Masters. For those 30 to 39 years old, Kelly and Masters are tied with 40% each. Kelly is well ahead in the 40-49 group before the survey skews towards Masters at 50 and up.

When it comes to gender, the survey shows women are trending more toward Democrats including Kelly. Of those surveyed, 48.5% would vote for Kelly versus 33.5% for Masters. Like the governor’s race, it’s flipped when it comes to male voters, showing 46.3% of men would vote for Masters — a more than 10-point lead over Kelly.

Don’t forget about the third candidate, Marc Victor, and his 5.2%. That raises the question of whether his votes would be coming from Arizonans who would otherwise be voting for Kelly or Masters. “When we look at the rest of the races where there are only two people, they actually narrow … we see the Republicans are closer,” Bentz said.

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.