Poll: Kari Lake Leads Sinema, Gallego in Three-Way Race, Also Tops Gallego in Head-to-Head Matchup


In a race that’s critical if the GOP wants to take back the Senate as well as the White House, things are looking up for the Republican front-runner.

According to a new poll by Rasmussen, 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate and former broadcaster Kari Lake leads both incumbent independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who caucuses with the Democrats, and Democratic Party front-runner Rep. Ruben Gallego in the Arizona Senate race.

The poll, conducted by Rasmussen Reports and the Bull Moose Project, found that Lake was ahead in both a two- and a three-person race, depending on whether Sinema sticks out her campaign.

With three people in the race, Lake holds a 4-point lead over Gallego, 37 percent to 33 percent, with Sinema taking 21 percent of the vote.

If Sinema were to abandon what’s likely a lost-cause candidacy, things look only slightly better for Gallego, with Lake taking 45 percent and Gallego 42 percent, according to the poll.

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In a two-person race, 8 percent said they were undecided and 4 percent they wouldn’t vote. In a three-person race, 7 percent say they were undecided and another 2 percent wouldn’t vote.

The online and phone poll was conducted Feb. 21-26 among 1,001 likely voters in Arizona, with a margin of error of 3 percent.

“The sample of Likely Arizona Voters included 469 Republicans and independents who are likely to vote in this year’s GOP primary, scheduled for March 19,” Rasmussen said in a news release Wednesday.

“Lake, a former TV journalist who narrowly lost the 2022 governor’s race in Arizona, enjoys a wide lead over her nearest primary rival for the Senate nomination,” it said. “Lake would get 55% to Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb’s 26%. Another seven percent (7%) of likely GOP primary voters would choose some other candidate, while 12% are undecided.”

This isn’t entirely surprising, given that the Republican Party’s campaign arm endorsed Lake this month, as Axios reported.

“Kari Lake is one of the most talented candidates in the country,” said Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“Kari is building out an effective campaign operation that has what it takes to flip Arizona’s Senate seat in November,” Daines said. “I’m proud to endorse Kari Lake for United States Senate.”

What is a surprise is Lake’s lead in the new poll. The other two surveys in the RealClearPolitics polling aggregate from this month had Gallego up by 3 and 6 points, respectively.

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However, the Republican’s public image as a firebrand may have softened a bit after a spat with Meghan McCain, daughter of the late former Sen. John McCain, in which Lake came out looking considerably better.

After McCain had decried Lake’s apologies for slams on the “McCain machine” and “McCain Republicans” during her 2022 gubernatorial run — telling Lake, “No peace, b****,” in a social media post — Lake responded with a heartfelt entreaty toward party unity.

“My dad passed away from cancer, too. I trust and believe that if our fathers were still with us they would do everything they could to save this Republic,” she wrote in response.

“Our movement to save Arizona & America is growing, and it’s Mama Bears like us who are leading the charge — ALL Moms want the same thing: to leave our children a better America than the one we had. It’s as simple as that,” Lake said.

McCain’s response? “NO PEACE, B****!” Can’t fault her for inconsistency, I suppose.

Whatever the case, both the Rasmussen poll and the two others that have been taken thus far highlight two key trends in the race.

The first is that if Sinema’s plan was to rely on Arizona’s independent and/or libertarian streak to carry her to victory, that path doesn’t seem to be borne out by the numbers. She left the Democratic Party after it became clear that, thanks to her opposition to filibuster-breaking and hard-left progressive policies, she was going to be primaried anyway — and likely by Gallego.

The second is that, despite the fact that local and national media like to paint Lake as a pariah for challenging the results of her narrow 2022 loss to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, Gallego isn’t pulling away.

That’s because while Arizonans have elected Democrats in the recent past — see both Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly — both of them made it clear they were moderates. Gallego has made no bones about his progressive bona fides, and he’d be the hardest-left candidate the state has elected in recent memory.

Will Kari Lake win her Senate race?

Whatever advantage he might have had by the media stereotypes regarding Lake has mostly been eliminated by his handicaps of not only being too leftist for the electorate but also having an independent incumbent who’s likely to siphon off more votes from him than from Lake.

Moreover, one can likely expect this trend to increase as the election grows closer. Control of the Senate is almost as important as control of the White House for the GOP, and Arizona — along with Montana, West Virginia and Ohio — represent critical opportunities to flip seats and take away any leverage the Democrats might have if former President Donald Trump retakes the White House.

Sinema benefited from running in a bad midterm year for the Republicans, while Kelly benefited in 2022 from weak competition from GOP nominee Blake Masters, who didn’t connect with voters. (Both Sinema and Kelly also first won office by defeating GOP nominee Martha McSally — another candidate who, for whatever reason, didn’t resonate with Arizonans.)

Lake is running with the electoral wind at her back and against an opponent whose progressivism will likely rankle voters who reside outside his blue district. It’s early, but the Rasmussen poll is a positive augury for both Kari Lake and the GOP’s senatorial chances as a whole.

Disclosure: Floyd Brown, one of the owners and founder of The Western Journal, is voluntarily serving as chairman of Kari Lake’s Senate campaign.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture