Senator Kyrsten Sinema may have thought that switching political affiliation Friday would help her get reelected, but in fact, she is deeply unpopular in Arizona across party lines—which is unlikely to change anytime soon.
FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver tweeted a graphic from an AARP poll conducted in September showing low support for Sinema among Arizona voters.
Only 37 percent of all likely voters viewed her favorably. Among Democrats, 57 percent viewed her unfavorably. Even among independents, her new team, 51 percent said they viewed her unfavorably.
In a reply to someone else’s comment, Silver estimated that Sinema would have had a 40 percent chance of winning her primary as a Democrat, and then about a 60 percent chance of winning the general election.
But now that she’s an independent, he put her chances of winning at only 25 percent.
Another poll, conducted in July by Data for Progress and the local Arizona news outlet The Copper Courier, found that Sinema had only a 42 percent approval rating among state residents. Only 34 percent of Arizona Democrats viewed her favorably.
Sinema’s abysmal approval levels should come as no surprise. Since being elected to Congress, she seems to have undergone a massive ideological transformation.
A former Green Party activist, Sinema had protested the Iraq War with the left-wing social justice group Code Pink and warned against the dangers of capitalism. But once she reached Capitol Hill, she swung much more moderate.
The Arizona state Democratic Party had censured Sinema in January for opposing the removal of the filibuster. The group similarly did not hold back in response to Sinema’s party change, charging that she had failed to stand up for her constituents in key areas such as voting rights and holding major corporations accountable.
“Senator Sinema may now be registered as an Independent, but she has shown she answers to corporations and billionaires, not Arizonans,” the party said in a statement. “Senator Sinema’s party registration means nothing if she continues to not listen to her constituents.”