Independent voters, take note: Kari Lake still leads in latest poll of GOP governor's race

·4 min read
Kari Lake answers questions after a debate with Republican candidates ahead of the Aug. 2 primary election for the Arizona governor's office on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Phoenix.
Kari Lake answers questions after a debate with Republican candidates ahead of the Aug. 2 primary election for the Arizona governor's office on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Phoenix.

With just 27 days until Election Day and polls now open, Kari Lake maintains a five-point lead in the Republican race for governor, according to new polling.

Or put another way, Karrin Taylor Robson is now within striking distance in a one-on-one matchup that is a statistical dead heat, given the poll’s margin of error.

In you are one of the legions of independent voters who takes a pass on primary elections, now would be a very good time to reconsider.

Not only does your vote count. It likely will decide who is Arizona’s next governor.

Few independents vote in primary elections

Oh, it’s understandable that independents don’t vote in primaries. The system is designed to discourage their participation, never mind that they are the fastest growing segment of voters and already are a third of the state’s electorate.

Or maybe it’s because of that that they continue to be marginalized.

Got questions? Everything to know about voting in the Aug. 2 primary

While vast majorities of Republican and Democratic voters enjoy the convenience of early ballots automatically arriving in their mailboxes, independents must take an extra step and request either a Republican or Democratic ballot.

Most simply don’t bother, which is how we wind up with a state government that doesn't seem to represent most of us.

The party in charge is always going to pander to the people who put them there.

There's still time to request a ballot

Just 12% of independent voters in Maricopa County have thus far asked for early ballots in the Aug. 2 primary election. And here’s the pitiful thing: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer tells me that’s already a better turnout than in 2018, assuming all those ballots are returned.

In all, 54,484 of the county’s 854,536 independent voters have requested Republican ballots – or just under 8% of the GOP ballots mailed out on Wednesday. Meanwhile, 40,148 Democratic ballots are headed to independents’ mailboxes, about 6% of all Democratic ballots.

Richer said he’s figuring independent turnout will run around 20%. This, compared with nearly double that for Republicans and Democrats.

The good news is, there is still time for independents to request a ballot.

Still time to have a say in whether the Trump triumvirate – Kari Lake (governor), Blake Masters (Senate) and Mark Finchem (secretary of state) – will be on the ballot in November. Or possibly in office come January.

Salmon's exit closed the gap for Taylor Robson

Karrin Taylor Robson poses for photos before a debate with Republican candidates ahead of the Aug. 2 primary election for the Arizona governor's office in Phoenix.
Karrin Taylor Robson poses for photos before a debate with Republican candidates ahead of the Aug. 2 primary election for the Arizona governor's office in Phoenix.

In the governor’s race, Matt Salmon’s departure has helped Taylor Robson begin to close in on Lake, according to a new poll by OH Predictive Insights.

The poll of likely Republican voters shows Lake with 40% support, up from 39% in April. Taylor Robson now stands at 35%, up from 31%. Twenty-one percent of those polled said they haven’t made up their minds.

Given the poll’s 4.3% margin of error, either one could win the nomination though I still like Taylor Robson's chances.

She's racking up the conservative endorsements while Lake does nothing to try to broaden her appeal. (Her latest ad shows her blowing stuff up at the border.) A separate poll of likely Republican voters, commmissioned by Salmon before he left the race, shows Lake is viewed unfavorably by a whopping 38% of likely Republican primary voters, up from 20% last December.

Still, Lake still could win the primary and in a year in which Republicans are heavily favored, well ...

Did I mention that independents can vote?

How to request a ballot (and vote)

Any registered voter can request an early ballot for the primary between now and July 22 online through the Secretary of State's Office. If you live in Maricopa County, you also can go to elections.maricopa.gov.

Voters can, of course, also show up at any voting location from now until Aug. 2 and vote either a Republican or Democratic ballot. (Here’s a list of voting centers in Maricopa County.)

If independents do turn out, it’s hard to see them turning out en masse for Lake, whose campaign is fueled more by outrage and theatrics than by any suggestion that she's ready to run a fast growing state of 7.2 million people. She has endorsed candidates who show an appalling tendency to pal around with white nationalists. (See: Rep. Paul Gosar and state Sen. Wendy Rogers.)

The question is, will independents vote over the next 27 days?

Or will they wait until November and then grumble about their choices?

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurieRoberts.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Do independents want a Gov. Kari Lake? If not, vote in the primary