Joe Arpaio's Endorsement Still Worth Something, if Polls are to Be Trusted

If public-opinion polls are to be trusted, then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's endorsement still is worth something to Arizonans.

Arpaio's endorsement of some candidates hasn't worked out too well -- like former U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth, ousted Senate President Russell Pearce, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and failed presidential candidate Rick Perry.

Still, a poll released today by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling shows Arizona Republicans still generally like whomever Joe likes.

Thirty-two percent of the 412 likely Republican primary voters polled said they're more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Arpaio, with 24 percent saying they're less likely to pick the Arpaio-backed candidate.

If a candidate's backed by Governor Jan Brewer or U.S. Senator John McCain, however, it's a different story.

According to the poll results, Brewer's endorsement makes 25 percent of Arizona Republicans more likely to vote for someone, compared to 21 percent who'd be less likely to opt for that person.

McCain's endorsement, on the other hand, apparently isn't a coveted one -- just 15 percent said they'd be more likely to pick someone with McCain's endorsement, compared to 30 percent who'd actually be less likely.

PPP's Tom Jensen still says Brewer's endorsement is a good thing, adding that if presidential candidates Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum could get the backing of either Arpaio or Brewer "it would be a boost."

It's the Santorum fans that like Arpaio-backed candidates, with 42 percent of his supporters saying they're more likely to get behind the same candidate as Arpaio. Romney's likely voters, on the other hand, are more keen to McCain's endorsements.

For its obligatory contribution to the horse race that is the GOP presidential primary, PPP says 36 percent of Arizona Republicans polled opted for Romney, and 33 percent chose Santorum. Gingrich lagged behind them with 16 percent, and Ron Paul's holding down fourth place with 9 percent.

Still, 44 percent of those Republicans polled said their choices aren't set in stone, and they might end up picking someone else come primary day.

On the Senate side, it's all about current Congressman Jeff Flake.

Fifty-six percent of those Republicans polled liked Flake as their Senate nominee -- a 49-point lead over the second choice, Wil Cardon. Thirty-one percent said they're still undecided about the whole Senate thing, but that still leaves Flake with a healthy lead over anyone who would pick those folks up.

The complete results from the PPP poll can be found by clicking here.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley