Democrat Rodney Glassman is going to have to educate a lot of people about himself -- and hope they like what they hear -- if he hopes to oust John McCain.
A new Rasmussen Reports survey Friday shows that 53 percent of the 500 likely voters questioned by automated telephone poll on Wednesday, the day after the primary, said they intend to vote to return the Republican senator to Congress for six more years. Glassman, by contrast, was the choice of just 31 percent.
Those numbers are pretty consistent with what Rasmussen has found in the past -- before McCain and Glassman won their respective primaries -- when testing a head-to-head race between them.
What Rasmussen found this time, though, suggests a possible path for Glassman.
Asked for their views of the candidates, 53 percent respondents said they see McCain in a favorable light. Glassman's numbers are at 33 percent.
But it's not because voters don't like Glassman, a former member of the Tucson City Council. In fact, the number of Arizonans who have a very unfavorable view of him is identical to the number who share that view of McCain.
Instead, it appears to be a question of ignorance.
Fully three out of every 10 voters said they don't know enough about Glassman to have an opinion of him. That is 10 times as many as are unsure of how they feel about McCain.
A similar pattern shows up when Rasmussen asks voters where they see the pair on the political spectrum.
McCain is viewed as conservative by 55 percent of survey respondents, with 26 percent saying he is a moderate and another 14 percent finding his views liberal or very liberal.
Only 11 percent of Arizona voters see Glassman as conservative. Another 27 percent believe he is a moderate and 39 percent perceive him as a liberal. But 22 percent say they aren't sure of his views.
Finally, Rasmussen found that one in 10 people questioned would rather have someone other than either McCain or Glassman, with another 6 percent unsure of how they might vote.
Glassman's ability to bridge that knowledge gap could depend heavily on his ability to generate media coverage. While he spent more than any other Democrat in the primary, his ability to raise cash pales in comparison with McCain who reportedly spent $21 million to trounce primary challenger J.D. Hayworth. That compares with less than $1.2 million Glassman listed in his last Federal Election Commission report for the four-way Democratic primary, including $500,000 in personal loans.
In a separate question on the same survey, 40 percent of respondents said they strongly approve of the job Gov. Jan Brewer is doing, with another 25 percent say they somewhat approve her performance. Only 24 percent express some level of disapproval.
The survey has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.