Poll: Virtual dead heat in state AG race - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Poll: Virtual dead heat in state AG race

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Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 10:19 am | Updated: 6:43 pm, Wed Oct 13, 2010.

Felecia Rotellini is shaping up to be the most likely -- and possibly only -- Democrat who will be elected to statewide office this year.

A new survey Tuesday by the Behavior Research Center found the Democratic candidate for attorney general to have the backing of 36 percent of the 450 likely voters questioned. Republican Tom Horne is supported by 40 percent.

But the survey, conducted earlier this month, has a margin of error of 4.7 points, making the results a virtual dead heat.

Among all 555 registered voters questioned -- whether they plan to go to the polls or not -- each has the backing of 34 percent, with 32 percent undecided.

By contrast, the exact same group of likely voters surveyed gave incumbent Jan Brewer an 11-point lead over Democrat Terry Goddard.

And de Berge reported that Rodney Glassman, hoping to oust incumbent Republican John McCain from the U.S. Senate, is the choice of only 22 percent of likely voters. McCain, by contrast, is backed by 56 percent of those questioned.

Part of the difference between Rotellini and Glassman, de Berge said, is her ability to unite the party base.

Two thirds of Democrats surveyed are backing their party's candidate for attorney general. But Glassman is supported by only 47 percent of registered voters from within his own party.

What Rotellini also has been able to do is pull Republican support.

"She's running a better campaign than most Democrats are this year in the sense of reaching out and appealing to voters across the board,'' de Berge said.

And he said that her support in Pima County is stronger than that of Goddard -- and far stronger than Glassman who actually is losing to McCain in the state's second largest county.

Rotellini also has something Goddard does not: the endorsement of some prominent Republicans. That specifically includes former Attorney General Grant Woods who said that Rotellini, who worked for him, is the better candidate.

"Grant Woods has a lot of respect in Arizona for being an independent thinker,'' de Berge said.

He said Woods' endorsement -- which resulted in the former attorney general being disciplined by the Maricopa County Republican Committee -- probably won't help Rotellini with the most conservative Republicans.

"But she wasn't going to get that vote anyway,'' de Berge said.

"I think it will probably help with the independent voters more than anything.''

And that, he said, could be a crucial factor: Close to half of registered voters without party affiliation said they had not yet decided who to support.

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