It looks like Democrats will manage to hold on to Arizona’s 8th Congressional district, the seat once held by “Gabby” Giffords, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling. The firm found that Democratic candidate Ron Barber holds a commanding 12 point lead over Republican Jesse Kelly.
A special election is taking place tomorrow as a result of Gabby Gifford’s decision to resign after sustaining serious injuries from the tragic shooting incident. From PPP:
Democrats are headed for a victory in tomorrow’s special election to replace Gabby Giffords in the House, but the relevance of the result in Arizona to much of anything else appears limited.
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.
This is positive news for Democrats, since natural political leanings of the district should theoretically have made this a close race.
Given the very unusual circumstance of this particular special election, though, I would caution against trying to extrapolate national implications from the vote tomorrow.