Kari Lake up by 11 in Arizona

There’s almost definitely something odd going on in the Grand Canyon State and recent surveys suggest that there may be more ticket-splitting than usual coming our way on November 8th. 

Just this week, the Arizona Senate race moved into a tie, with Real Clear Politics shifting the election from “leans Democrat” to a tossup. But at the very same time, the gubernatorial fight is shaping up to be a blowout unless there is a huge shift in momentum at the eleventh hour. 

A FOX 10 InsiderAdvantage poll conducted this week gives Republican Kari Lake an eleven-point lead over her debate-adverse Democratic rival, Katie Hobbs. 

To put it mildly, Democrats are going into full-blown panic mode and scrambling to prevent a potential red wave from turning into a crimson tsunami.

I don’t want to jinx anyone by calling any closely contested race a “done deal” with more than a week left to go and Lake clearly can’t afford to take her foot off the gas at this stage. But that same poll showed the race being far closer only a month ago and even favored Hobbs to win earlier in the summer. All of the momentum in the later stages of the battle has been in Lake’s corner.

It’s almost impossible to ignore the possibility that Hobbs’ refusal to debate Kari Lake is coming back to bite her. She was given every opportunity to do so but chose to run and hide instead. For her part, Kari Lake has turned that into a rallying cry. At pretty much every campaign stop (and she does a lot of them) she asks the swelling crowds where Katie Hobbs is and why she won’t face her opponent and address the issues facing Arizonans.

It seems as if Katie Hobbs allowed herself to be convinced that she could simply cruise through this election on autopilot. Her people were initially rumored to be rooting for Lake in the primary, believing that Kari Lake’s endorsement by Donald Trump would be too much of a disqualifying factor for the state’s voters. If these latest numbers hold up for another twelve days, that strategy will be shown to have blown up in Hobbs’ face dramatically.

At this point, I’ve watched more than enough interviews and campaign addresses from Kari Lake to get a sense of what the voters in Arizona are seeing and apparently responding to. This isn’t about Donald Trump and it’s not about abortion. This is about a state and an entire country facing some very serious dangers at the moment and a Democratic Party that has failed to address those issues and arguably has worsened them with their policies.

We’re also seeing yet another shift in the standard demographics that Democrats have long taken for granted. Kari Lake isn’t just “doing better” among Hispanic voters than previous Republicans in Arizona. She’s leading Hobbs among Hispanic voters, as well as older voters. (With the latter group naturally tending to lean more to the right.) I’m sure that Lake is benefitting from her experience as a television news anchor in terms of managing her stage presence, but there has to be more behind the story than just that. Lake is delivering a message that people have been waiting to hear. And at least for now, it seems to be working.

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