As one of two moderate Democrats in the evenly split Senate, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has stood in the way of key elements of Joe Biden’s agenda, and that has irked Democrats in her state, so much so that she could pay a huge political price when she runs for reelection in 2024.
A new OH Predictive Insights poll found that Sinema is polling underwater with Democrats but above water with Republicans. But before she can face the electorate in November 2024, she has to survive a Democratic primary…and this poll suggests that she might not.
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Arizona Democrats want someone else as their nominee in 2024 when Sinema is up for reelection. Just 26% want to keep Sinema.
“Sen. Sinema’s growing unpopularity with voters from within her own party could prove fatal in 2024 when she will have to ask for Democrats’ support for re-nomination,” said Mike Noble, OHPI chief of research. “While there is still time between now and then, Sinema has ground to make up with her constituents in the next three years.”
That’s a tall order for Sinema. Back in September, the Arizona Democratic Party passed a resolution criticizing her and warning her of a potential vote of no confidence. A political action committee called Primary Sinema PAC was also launched to fund local groups to pressure Sinema to support the radical leftist agenda as well as build support and a campaign infrastructure for an eventual primary challenger. The PAC accuses Sinema of obstructing Biden’s agenda and empowering Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party.
Sinema trails three potential primary opponents in hypothetical matchups.
Against Phoenix Rep. Ruben Gallego, 47% said that they would support Gallego while 24% said that they would support Sinema. Rep. Greg Stanton, Sinema’s successor in Congress, leads his predecessor by an identical margin in a hypothetical primary match-up. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman also bests Sinema by 20 points.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) recently confirmed in an interview that he pressed Sinema to join the Republican Party, but Sinema said there’s no chance of that happening.
Without a doubt, Sinema is the Arizona Democratic Party’s best shot at holding onto the seat. Arizona is a reddish/purple state, and Sinema can’t afford to be a left-wing radical. Unfortunately for her, Arizona Democrats don’t understand this yet and may end up nominating someone who would have a much more difficult time winning in a general election instead.
Even Sen. Mark Kelly, a much more party-line Democrat than Sinema, is in trouble. Only 41% of Arizona voters approve of Kelly while 47% disapprove. While he hasn’t been a roadblock to the Biden agenda the way Sinema has been, Kelly is nevertheless feeling the impact of Joe Biden’s tanking approval ratings. Kelly faces Arizona voters next year during the midterm elections.
“Both Sinema and Kelly have work to do if they want to hold onto their seats,” said Mike Noble. “For Sinema, she must rebuild some of the bridges she seems to have burned with voters in her own party. For Kelly, he will likely have to navigate a midterm environment with an unpopular Democratic President.”