Terry Goddard Leads for Governor in Arizona

Attorney General and likely party nominee Terry Goddard leads incumbent Republican Jan Brewer and two other potential GOP rivals.
by | September 23, 2009

A new Public Policy Polling survey indicates that Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is vulnerable in either a primary or general election next year, with Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard a likely beneficiary:

If the election was today Democrats would reclaim the Governor's seat they gave up in Arizona when Janet Napolitano became Homeland Security Secretary. Attorney General and likely party nominee Terry Goddard leads incumbent Republican Jan Brewer and two other potential GOP rivals by margins ranging from 8 to 23 points.

Only 26% of Arizona voters approve of the job Brewer is doing with 43% expressing disapproval and 31% unsure. Her numbers are remarkably consistent along party lines with 28% of Republicans, 26% of Democrats, and 24% of independents giving her good marks. Of all the Governors and Senators PPP has polled on across the country so far in 2009 Brewer is the least popular within her own party, taking that mantle from Illinois Senator Roland Burris who is at just 29% with Democrats.

If Goddard does win, no one will be able to complain that he didn't pay his dues. He was nearly elected governor in 1990, losing by 4,300 votes. He ran again in 1994, falling in a Democratic primary.

Brewer's precarious position has policy significance in addition to the electoral implications. The Arizona Republican Party is divided over Brewer's call for a sales tax increase. The governor's poor numbers seem to suggest that even if she succeeds in persuading the legislature to place the sales tax hike on the ballot (something she's been trying to do for months now), she'll struggle to persuade voters to support it. Then again, you could also read her poor numbers as more of a reaction to her inability to work with the Republican-controlled legislature than a rejection of the sales tax itself.

I'd also like to brag that I asked for a poll of Arizona and voters on Public Policy Polling's blog obliged by picking the state for a survey. Correlation, however, doesn't imply causation.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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