POLL: Voters Prefer Kelly over Masters 55% to 38% as Kelly’s Favorability Soars

A new poll from Center Street PAC (www.centerstreetpac.com), a nonpartisan political action committee, shows likely voters prefer Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly over Republican Blake Masters 55% to 38% in the race for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat. Kelly also leads in preference among registered voters, 54% to 32%. 

Independent voters say they prefer Kelly over Masters 52% to 20%. That 32-point advantage stems from Kelly’s favorability advantage among independents, as 48% hold favorable views compared to 36% unfavorable. Meanwhile, only 17% of independents view Masters favorably compared to a massive 65% unfavorable. 

“We’re not saying Mark Kelly will win by 17 points on Nov. 8. We’re saying Arizona voters prefer Mark Kelly by a 17-point gap, which isn’t surprising when you look at the two candidates,” said Center Street Co-Founder Jacob Perry. “Sen. Kelly inspires voters because he served his country as a navy pilot and astronaut who flew the Space Shuttle, before becoming a senator. The only people Blake Masters inspires are avowed white supremacists and a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, who ‘couldn’t issue a more forceful endorsement’ than for Masters.” 

Kelly also holds an advantage in partisan enthusiasm, enjoying extremely high favorability among Democrats with 57% saying they view Kelly as “very favorable” and 27% “somewhat favorable.” By contrast, barely 50% of Republicans are favorable to Masters, with only 27% holding “very favorable” views and 25% “somewhat favorable.”  

“The preference gap shouldn’t be surprising given Masters’ catastrophically bad favorability numbers among Arizona voters, and they’re not improving,” said Center Street Co-Founder Matt O’Brien. “He’s absorbed all of the strong dislike of Trump without any of the strong favorability Trump enjoys among his base, and the rallies haven’t helped.”

While Masters has been unable to capitalize on favorability among Trump’s base, Kelly’s favorability has been minimally affected by President Biden’s negative standing with independents. Biden is extremely unpopular with independents, with 22% holding a favorable view of him, compared to 65% who are unfavorable.

While Kelly’s preference results remained static since September, in a highly unusual finding, his favorability grew versus the prior month, going from a 3.1 to 3.2 on a five-point scale. 

“Once negative ads hit, we rarely see a candidate’s favorability improve,” said Center Street Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Kurt Jetta. “It’s further testament to Kelly’s fundamental strength among the majority of Arizona voters. Nothing is firm until election day because you can’t predict turnout. But these polling results suggest it is going to take a significant amount more money for Republicans to change the trajectory of this race. You have to wonder if Peter Thiel knew what he was getting into by trying to knock off this guy.”

As many experts expect the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs to play a role, among the 46% of registered voters who cite abortion as an extremely important issue, Kelly leads Masters by an overwhelming 72%-15% advantage.

“Expect Kelly’s messaging to focus more on reinforcing the positive image he already has with Arizona voters,” said Jetta. 

Center Street has developed an unparalleled data set, led by Dr. Jetta. A 30-year innovator in consumer analytics and former CEO of TABS Analytics, Dr. Jetta applies his consumer analysis developments to political analysis, allowing Center Street to determine and choose a select number of winnable races.

Center Street is a nonpartisan super PAC designed to combat the destructive tribalism threatening democracy by supporting credible candidates, regardless of political party, against extremist challengers and incumbents. Founded by former Republican strategist Jacob Perry and private businessman Matt O’Brien, Center Street advocates for the election of candidates who demonstrate stable and effective governing policies. 

Methodology: Between Oct. 4-9, 2022, 1,113 adults were surveyed, including 894 registered voters and 551 likely voters. Adults 18+ Weighted to age/gender of U.S. Census and then by 2020 Presidential vote preference. Results will have 2020 stated voter preference aligned with actual (49% Biden/49%Trump). Sample augmented for respondents Aged 75+, to reduce weighting required for this hard-to-reach cohort. Source: Center Street PAC via Momentiv AI.  

NOTE: Center Street polls do not ask for Leaning Preference. Therefore, they tend to have a higher Preference gap for certain races than other national polling firms.

Trump/Biden favorability comparison
Chart shows how Kelly’s & Masters’ preference results compare to those of Trump, Biden & other Arizona candidates