Former television news anchor Kari Lake took an early lead among Republican gubernatorial candidates in a poll measuring favorability.
Further, Lake is running neck and neck with Democratic frontrunner Katie Hobbs.
The poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights last month found a combined 60 percent of registered Republican voters polled have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Lake, followed by former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon at 51 percent and Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee at 49 percent.
“It turns out Kari Lake’s decades of being on local television, Matt Salmon’s decades of experience in Arizona politics, and Kimberly Yee’s status as a current statewide officeholder have been major benefits to their name ID,” OHPI data analyst Jacob Joss said.
Meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs enjoys a 63 percent favorability rating among registered Democratic voters.
Her closest competitors are former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez at 44 percent and Arizona state Rep. Aaron Lieberman at 41 percent.
Hobbs has a slight lead among all the candidates running for governor, with a 40 percent favorability rating to Lake’s 39 percent among all registered voters.
However, Lake holds a net +17 net favorability to Hobbs’ +13. In other words, more people view Lake favorably to unfavorably compared to the secretary of state.
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) July 23, 2021
The secretary of state’s office is responsible for overseeing Arizona’s elections.
When former President Donald Trump came to Phoenix late last month to speak at the Turning Point Action’s “Rally to Protect Our Elections,” Hobbs referred to it as the “Big Lie rally.”
In a CNN interview, she accused the 45th president of peddling “baseless conspiracy theories.”
Media: @Acosta: #Trump “will be in #Arizona this weekend to peddle his baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud, his go-to excuse for losing the 2020 election.@katiehobbs: “It doesn’t matter what he says or does. Nothing’s going to change the outcome of the 2020 election.” pic.twitter.com/ORfwxYxb8Q
— Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) July 23, 2021
Lake was among the candidates for statewide office attending the rally, where she received the strongest applause of any of the gubernatorial candidates.
Trump took note of it, saying, “Wow, this could be a big night for you. Thank you very much, Kari.”
THE TRUMP PRIMARY Still a year away from ’22 ballots being cast in AZ primary, but Donald Trump’s rally Sat was 1st test for GOP statewide candidates. Clear #AZGOV winner: @KariLake. Trump noticed. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/zgTUEmtv6J
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) July 26, 2021
“I am a proud conservative and an unapologetic Trump Republican, and I’m running to make Arizona great again,” Lake told the rally attendees.
It is an honor of a lifetime to be with THOUSANDS of Patriots today for @TrumpStudents Rally!
The ENTIRE crowd is ON FIRE for our ARIZONA FIRST Campaign. The MAGA Movement is stronger than ever!!
— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) July 24, 2021
She tweeted afterward, “Thank you for visiting state 48, Mr. President! Get back to Arizona as soon as you can. Arizona is MAGA Country.”
The former KSAZ-TV (the Phoenix Fox affiliate) anchor made national headlines in March when she announced she was leaving the station after 22 years.
I’m an unapologetic TRUMP Republican.
— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) July 31, 2021
“Sadly, journalism has changed a lot since I first stepped into the newsroom. And I’ll be honest, I don’t like the direction it is going,” Lake said.
“The media needs more balance in coverage and a wider range of viewpoints,” she added. “In the past few years, I haven’t felt proud to be a member of the media.”
Another finding from the OHIP poll working in Lake’s favor should she become the GOP nominee is that 43 percent of those polled prefer Republicans run the state versus 42 percent who want Democrats to do so.
Additionally, a quarterly voter registration report released Thursday showed Republicans enjoy an advantage over Democrats among active voters of 34.72 percent to 31.82 percent.
The OHPI poll was conducted from July 6 to July 11 and consisted of 863 registered voters in Arizona, with a margin of error of ± 3.3 percent.