The race to replace Jon Kyl in the Senate from Arizona is looking competitive, with Republican Jeff Flake leading Democrat Richard Carmona by only a 40-36 margin.
Flake and Carmona both have good favorability numbers with the voters who are familiar with them. 33% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of Flake to 27% with a negative one. Carmona barely has half of Flake's name recognition but his numbers break down 17% positive to 11% negative with the few voters that know who he is.
Carmona is seen favorably by a 13/12 spread even by Republicans, probably owing to his past as a Bush appointee, and he gets 10% of the GOP vote against Flake. That's more crossover support than we've been seeing for most Democrats in the last few years. Flake takes 12% of the Democratic vote though, and has an early 29-26 lead with independents.
Carmona's early competitiveness has a lot to do with strong support from Hispanic voters. He leads Flake 56-19 with them in his bid to become the state's first Hispanic Senator.
Carmona is looking clearly like a stronger candidate than Don Bivens, the other major Democrat in the field. Bivens trails Flake by a 10 point margin, 42-32. Carmona also does a lot better than Bivens against Republican hopeful Wil Cardon- Carmona trails by only 2 points at 35-33, while Bivens faces an 8 point deficit at 35-27.
With the Senate landscape in 2012 offering Democrats few opportunities for offense these numbers suggest Arizona may provide the party's 3rd best chance of picking up a GOP held seat next year, behind only Massachusetts and Nevada.
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