The race for the senate seat between Rep. Kirkpatrick and Sen. McCain has had little to no change in recent weeks. While Sen. McCain did have a “contested” primary and Rep. Kirkpatrick had no competition, the electorate of Arizona has maintained well-defined views of Sen. McCain. Rep. Kirkpatrick still remains relatively unknown among the majority of voters, especially in the Hispanic electorate. Nearly 49 percent of voters described Sen. McCain, as favorable or very favorable, and 36 percent of respondents described Rep. Kirkpatrick as favorable or very favorable. The defining number of this race right now however is 30.4, which is the percent of voters that did not know enough about Rep. Kirkpatrick to register an opinion. Both candidates seem to be focusing on a more “nationalized” (Crowder-Meyer, Sep. 23, 2016) election also, as veteran affairs, minimum wage, and 2nd amendment rights have been repeated among the two. After analyzing these statistics, the campaign strategy for these two nominees will come down to “incumbency and voter information” (Hernson, Pg. 202), gauging of public opinion (Hernson, Pg. 209).
Obviously, in this election, Sen. McCain has the upper hand due to his longtime incumbent status. One of McCain’s most important benefits, is his universal name recognition among the constituents of Arizona which stemmed from his ’08 presidential campaign. Hernson states “… name recognition and voter approval levels of most incumbents are difficult for opponents to overcome.” (Pg. 204). Another benefit associated with McCain’s incumbent status, is his Campaign contributions. He has an enormous advantage when compared to Rep. Kirkpatrick. This has not affected the professionalism shown by each candidate however. After visiting the campaign sites of each candidate, both seem to have a very organized team. (http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/events , http://www.kirkpatrickforsenate.com/). Rep. Kirkpatrick is being held back by the low voter information and the “invisibility problem” Hernson mentions on page 204.
The next strategy Hernson mentions in his chapter on campaign strategy is “gauging public opinion”. The presidential election has definitely had an effect on the constituency in Arizona, considering its large percentage of Hispanic voters. A majority of Hispanic voters disapprove of Trump in Arizona, and it has affected Sen. McCain’s percentage points. He is sitting at 56.3 in disapproval rating, where as Rep. Kirkpatrick has a 22.5 percent disapproval rating. Kirkpatrick is having the same problem presidential nominee; Hillary Clinton is having. She is not rallying the voters in the Hispanic population despite the contempt they have for the republican party right now. A good strategy for Rep. Kirkpatrick, would be to “ride the wave” (Crowder-Meyer Sep. 23, 2016), of disapproval for republicans among Hispanic and legal immigrant voters. This could swing a large number of voters, considering McCain’s disapproval rating among the Hispanic population in Arizona.
In multiple Polls, McCain holds a healthy lead over Rep. Kirkpatrick. While Kirkpatrick has gained some ground in the senate race, she has a long way to go to overcome the task of taking down an incumbent who boast a long resume and significant approval ratings. Name recognition is the major benefit, as McCain is known nationally and Kirkpatrick is having trouble with voters in her own state. If the vote were held today, McCain would likely be the winner, but there is still time for Rep. Kirkpatrick to make some moves. As the presidential campaign moves forward, she is likely to gain some support as well.