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27th August
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Ducey won a commanding victory in Tuesday’s Arizona Republican primary election.  It was the most crowded Republican primary for Governor in state history, and yet Ducey won by an astounding 15 points. He exceeded everyone’s expectations, including mine.

Now Ducey faces Fred DuVal in November.  Polling shows this race as basically tied with a large number of undecided voters.  This is not surprising, but the contours of the race haven’t really been set, so we’ll see movement in the numbers within a week or so.

The biggest upset of the night was Mark Brnovich defeating Tom Horne in the Attorney General race.  Mark was outspent by a large margin, but Horne’s negatives were an anchor around his neck.  Mark was a tireless campaigner with amazing energy that provided primary voters with a strong viable alternative to Horne.

The other big upset was Diane Douglas defeating Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. It was an old-fashioned, school principal office spanking.

In the Secretary of State race, Michele Reagan won by a strong margin and will dispatch her Democrat opponent, Terry Goddard, in November giving yet another losing effort.

Jeff DeWit, the singing phenom, won big and will become the next Treasurer of Arizona because the Democrats didn’t even bother to field a candidate.

Finally, Doug Little and Tom Forese proved that running as a team has benefits – both receiving almost the exact same number of votes for Corporation Commission and will face two radical leftists for the general.

Let’s look more closely at the primary race for Governor. My firm, DC London, did independent expenditure work in the race, and one of the more satisfying outcomes was how good the polling was.  We relied on two different pollsters, David Flaherty at Magellen Strategies and Brock McCleary at Harper Polling.  Below is a chart of the two latest polls by each of them respectively and the election result.

   Candidate

Aug. 19-20  (Harper) 

Aug. 25  (Magellan)

Election Result

Ducey

32

33.3

37.3

Smith

19

23.4

22.3

Jones

16

17.2

16.7

Bennett

14

9.4

10.5

Thomas

7

6.3

8.3

Riggs

2

3.3

4.5

Undecided

10

7.2

NA

The most interesting thing in looking at the polls and the results of Tuesday is that Ducey captured the majority of the late undecided voters.  Those late deciders have by described by the late political wizard Steve Shadegg as “Indifferents.”  The Indifferents are people who don’t really pay attention to politics and may or may not vote.  They usually make up their mind in the last three days or so of an election.  In this day and age with early voting, some of them are the folks who get their early ballot, set it on the counter and then realize weeks later on Election Day they need to fill it out and drop it off at the polling location.

They are important voters because in close elections, they determine the outcome.  Ducey didn’t need them to break heavily in his favor, but it turns out they did, which created a spike in his numbers.

In a six-way race, it is unusual for one candidate to get the majority of the undecided.  In Ducey’s case, he added four percent to his margin, leaving only three percent of the vote to go to other candidates.  Interestingly, the beneficiaries of those remaining voters were Thomas and Riggs, although it did them no good.

Now the Democrats will begin to spin that they are in a strong position to win these statewide races.  Obviously, I beg to differ.

Ducey has won statewide in a general and has become a very strong candidate.  DuVal has run for office once before, and it didn’t work out well. He finished 4th in a Congressional primary in which he garnered a whopping 8,600 votes. Not much of a base of support to jump into the big leagues.  He will actually suffer from not having had a primary opponent.  He and his campaign will likely make a couple missteps that they wouldn’t otherwise make as a result of not being in a day-to-day battle.

Felicia Rotellini couldn’t beat Tom Horne when he was weakened by some scandal four years ago.  She will have a difficult time matching Brnovich’s energy and passion.

Michele Reagan is a bright star in state politics and voters will go with her youthful enthusiasm over perennial candidate Terry Goddard.

When it’s all said and done, Arizona will remain a strong Republican state for the next four years.

 

 

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