In 2010, Gabby Giffords just barely hung onto her Arizona congressional seat, beating Republican Jesse Kelly by a razor thin margin, 49 percent to 47 percent. Now, in the district election happening tomorrow that determines who will succeed Giffords, it looks like Kelly is likely to lose again, according to Democratic firm Public Policy Polling:
Democrat Ron Barber leads with 53% to 41% for Republican Jesse Kelly, with Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis polling at 4%. Barber is well liked by voters in the district, sporting a 54/38 favorability rating. Kelly, meanwhile, has very high negatives with only 37% of voters rating him positively while 59% have a negative opinion. . . .
Barber appears to have the race pretty much already locked up. 57% of voters say they’ve already cast their ballots, and with that group Barber enjoys a 21 point advantage at 58-37. People planning to vote tomorrow are much more evenly split with 46% for Barber and 45% for Kelly.
It appears that in a more normal scenario, absent the emotions surrounding Giffords’ tragedy, the Republican candidate would have an easier time winning this district:
Despite the likely Democratic victory tomorrow Barack Obama’s approval rating in this district is only 44%, with 50% of voters disapproving of him. And even though Barber leads by 12, likely voters only say they want Democrats to have control of Congress by a 48-44 margin. That’s an unusually large gap between the horse race and who voters want to have control, and again speaks to the unusual circumstances surrounding this race.
Giffords campaigned with Barber over the weekend.
Both Barber and Kelly have had outside groups come to their aid, with Republicans spending $1.3 million to Democrats’ $900,000, according to the Christian Science Monitor.