Despite, or maybe because of, having nearly 95 percent name recognition, CD-1 Representative Ann Kirkpatrick is trailing challenger Paul Gosar in at least one poll. The American action Forum poll, conducted by Ayes, McHenry and Associates, has Gosar leading the incumbent by six points, 47 percent to 41 percent with two months left in the race.
Kirkpatrick might be hurting from a national trend. Rasmussen Reports polling says nation-wide, likely voters are saying they'll vote Republican by a 10 percent margin over Democrats, one of the largest splits ever.
In this district, voters told pollsters that the characteristics they feel most positive about are keeping taxes low, fixing the health care problem, cutting government spending, and promoting sound economic policies. Voters are more likely to associate these ideas with Gosar over Kirkpatrick by an average of 32 percent to 23 percent. Kirkpatrick shines in the trust department, where she out-polls the relatively unknown Gosar by 25 points.
Health care hurts Kirkpatrick's chances for re-election, so name recognition works against her here. Forty-seven percent of voters say they will be much less likely to vote for her because of her vote for President Obama's mandatory health care bill. The same number of voters are less likely to vote for her because she has come out publicly against Arizona's SB1070 anti-illegal-immigration bill.
In other questions, 96 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats in this district say the country is on the wrong track. Given a choice of 15 issues, 49 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents (or undecided) and 45 percent of Democrats say the economy is the most important issue facing the United States.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they are opposed to the health care bill, while 31 percent support it.
In general, pollsters found that 41 percent of likely voters in this district would prefer the next representative be a Republican, while 31 percent would prefer a Democrats. Sixty-four percent of conservatives and 11 percent of liberals would prefer a Republicans, while 9 percent of conservatives and 70 percent of liberals would prefer a Democrat.
All respondents were selected randomly from a list of registered voters in the district, and indicated they are likely to vote in the elections for Congress this fall, and interviews were conducted by live interviewers. Quotas were set by gender, age, and county consistent with past participation, and the sample was minimally weighted by party identification. The margin of error is ±4.90 percent when respondents split evenly on a question.
•Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org