Kyrsten Sinema's bipartisanship gaining Republican favor

Arizona Democratic senator is viewed favorably by 37% of Republicans, thanks to moderate stances on the minimum wage and the filibuster.

Updated: July 31, 2021 - 10:59pm

Though costing her the support of close to half of her party, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's moderate stances on the minimum wage and the filibuster may have catalyzed her surprising popularity amongst moderates and Republicans.

OH Predictive Insights' July Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) poll found that both Democratic Arizona Senators hold some appeal to Republican voters.

Sinema, elected in 2018, is viewed favorably by 37% of Republicans, a surprising shift from Republican critiques during her 2018 campaign against former Sen. Martha McSally. Fox News viewers give Sinema a plus-12-point favorability. However, Sinema is unfavorable among 40% of Democrats, according to the AZPOP.

"While she still needs to attract those [Democratic] voters back into her camp, Sinema's outreach to Republicans continues to pay dividends," OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble said.

Sinema's thumbs-down vote against increasing the federal minimum to $15 in the COVID-19 relief package sparked pronounced criticism among Democrats. She was one of only eight other Democrats to vote against the wage increase. Additionally, Sinema's defense of the Senate filibuster was met with backlash.

"My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy,” Sinema said in an op-ed for The Washington Post. "It is based on what is best for our democracy. The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles."

Democrats criticized Sinema's logic and accused her of standing in the way of the expansion of voting rights.

Progress Arizona, a progressive public policy organization based in Phoenix, tweeted that Sinema's support for the "For the People Act" was "meaningless," unless she voted to end the filibuster.

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly is viewed unfavorably by 67% of Republicans and favorably by more than 80% of liberal or moderate Democrats, OHPI said. Unlike Sinema, Kelly is down by three points with Fox News viewers.

Both Sinema and Kelly have statistically equivalent favorability ratings among independent voters of 46% and 47%, the OHPI survey said. Though Kelly is supported by both men and women, the poll showed Sinema down five points with women.

"As Arizona turns into a battleground state, the state's two Democratic senators are learning to appeal to Republican voters," Noble stated. "As each draws closer to a reelection campaign, Sinema and Kelly must walk the fine line of supporting a Democratic agenda in the Senate while keeping Republican and Independent voters from jumping ship."

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