AZ Governor’s Race: ‘Not Sure’ Holds Lead in 9-Way Field

Public Policy Polling data, plotted by The Tucson Progressive
Public Policy Polling data, plotted by The Tucson Progressive
Public Policy Polling data, plotted by The Tucson Progressive

Nine candidates are running for governor of Arizona in the 2014 election. How do voters feel about them?


According to a recent survey (pdf) of 870 Arizona voters by  Public Policy Polling, Arizonans are underwhelmed by our choices for governor. The above graphic shows Governor Jan Brewer’s approval rating compared to the nine declared candidates: Secretary of State Ken Bennett, State Treasurer Doug Ducey, Former Board of Regents Member and sole Democrat Fred DuVal, Businesswoman Christine Jones, State Senator Al Melvin, Physician John Molina, Former California Congressman Frank Riggs, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, and Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Overall, the only clear winner is “Not Sure”– despite months of campaigning by some of the candidates, most notably DuVal and Bennett. In the GOP primary, “undecided” scored 34% — 14 points above Bennett, the GOP leader. Ouch. Individual GOP match-ups with DuVal show no clear winners because such a high percentage of voters are “not sure.”

Except for Smith and DuVal, whose approval/disapproval ratings are almost equal, all of the other candidates have much higher disapproval ratings. Disbarred county attorney Thomas has the highest disapproval rating at 29% (vs 13% approval rating). Secretary of State “Birther” Bennett (who has distinguished himself by demanding that Hawaii produce President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and by backing voter suppression legislation passed by the Arizona Legislature) has a 24% disapproval rating (vs 12% approval). Melvin (who wants to turn Arizona into the country’s nuclear waste dump and recently showed his stupidity on CNN) and California carpetbagger Riggs have the lowest approval ratings (4% vs 5%, respectively).

With eight months before the election, where does this leave us?

Thomas, Melvin, and Riggs– and maybe Molina and Jones– should give up and stop wasting our time. Riggs and Molina have zero name recognition. Melvin, Thomas, Ducey, Jones, and Bennett have bad or highly mixed name recognition. For example, on the question of SB1062 (the recent anti-gay bill passed by the Legislature) Jones, Thomas, Ducey, and Melvin all backed SB1062, while Bennett and Smith played both sides of the fence. DuVal was the only gubernatorial candidate who came out solidly against SB1062. (The same Public Policy Poll showed that 72% of Arizonans agree with Brewer’s veto of SB1062 and, furthermore, 49% approve of gay marriage.)

NOTE to Fred DuVal: push your campaign into high gear, while the Republicans scramble.


  1. I think it says more about the electorate than anyone else. T0 the majority of people, this is not relevant until closer to the election. I’ll bet a majority of Arizonans cannot even tell you when the governor’s election will be. They are more interested in bread and circuses.

  2. About 2 years ago AZ Republic ran an informal poll online about the probable Republican candidates for Governor, and Sec. of State Ken Bennett was far ahead of the pack. Seems to have changed in this recent poll.

    • I remember that also, Carolyn. For a while, Bennett was sort of the “heir apparent” for the governor’s seat. None of these candidates has a clear lead. Anything can happen at this point.

      • I happened to be downtown when Bennett announced his run for Governor last fall. In attendance at that Tuesday press conference were LD 9 Rep. Ethan Orr, former Mayor Bob Walkup, Clerk of the Superior Court Toni Hellon, Former House Rep./Independent Ted Downing, JP Green Valley candidate David Kryder. It was at the same time as the Pima County Bd. of Supervisors meeting so the two Republicans on that board were not present at his kick off (and I’m not sure who they are supporting anyway).

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