Poll shows closing gap between Brewer, Goddard

A DROP IN POLLS: In a recent poll released Monday, Gov. Jan Brewer's lead has dropped seven points and is now leading the race by only three points, just ahead of Democratic candidate Terry Goddard. (Photo by Annie Wechter)

Gov. Jan Brewer’s lead among registered voters in Arizona’s gubernatorial race has dropped by 7 points since July, according to a poll released Monday.

The Rocky Mountain poll, conducted by the non-partisan Behavior Research Center in Phoenix, now shows Brewer is only three points ahead of Democratic challenger Terry Goddard among registered voters with 38 percent of the vote.

Goddard has increased his standing by 10 points since July, according to the poll, and now has 35 percent of the vote among registered voters.

Twenty-one percent of those polled were still undecided.

Among likely voters, however, Brewer still has a strong lead. The poll shows her 11 points ahead of Goddard in this group, with 46 percent to his 35 percent.

Political science professor Rodolfo Espino said he would need to see more data points, or comparative polls, before calling Brewer’s number drop a trend.

“The more polls the better,” Espino said. “I’m uncomfortable saying the Rocky Mountain poll taken over the summer versus now is a trend.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll released Oct. 5 showed Brewer with 55 percent support among likely voters to Goddard’s 39 percent. Only 3 percent were undecided.

The Rocky Mountain poll surveyed 555 registered Arizona voters and was conducted between Oct. 1 and Sunday.

Libertarian Barry Hess and Green party candidate Larry Gist each took 2 percent of the likely voter population.

The poll shows Goddard carrying about 60 percent of the Latino vote, but Latino voters might not come to his aid on Election Day, Espino said.

“Generally, you’re going to see a drop-off in minority and Democratic voters in non-presidential elections,” he said. “Hispanics don’t comprise the majority of the electorate in Arizona.”

Goddard might be able to “piggyback” in races that are going to draw Democrats to the polls, like in Congressional Districts 1 and 8 and among Native Americans drawn to state Rep. Chris Deschene’s candidacy for Arizona Secretary of State.

Espino said the candidates can be expected to react differently to the poll.

“We might expect that Goddard’s going to trumpet these results, whereas Brewer [is] going to minimize them,” he said. “Brewer’s campaign might pay a bit more attention to the poll internally than they will publicly.”

Reach the reporter at ymgonzal@asu.edu