Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing a tough re-election fight against Democratic challenger Paul Penzone. In their last race, Arpaio barely held on to his position, winning 51 to 45, and recent polls indicate that Penzone might be poised to win this year’s race.
Recently, Penzone’s campaign released an internal poll showing that Penzone is leading his rival by 4 percentage points. The poll, which was conducted by Strategies 360, has Penzone earning 48 percent of the vote with Arpaio earning 44 percent. The poll also showed Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton by five points.
When those numbers were released, Arpaio’s campaign manager, Ched Willems, said Penzone’s poll was completely false.
‘We have internals that tell a much, much different story. This is a completely fabricated poll by the Penzone campaign. Facing a news story about Arpaio raising yet another record amount of money for his reelection, the Penzone campaign dusted off the oldest trick in the book: put out phony poll numbers that show you leading in order to stave off early abandonment by your supporters and grab a headline as a life preserve.’
Obviously, the Arpaio campaign wouldn’t simply concede defeat and admit that Penzone’s polling was accurate. Even when your campaign is down by a large margin, you need to project confidence, otherwise voters will get discouraged and simply stay home. That was one of the major mistakes the Democrats made in 2012. They all but conceded the House and Senate to the Republicans without putting up much of a fight.
The Strategies 360 poll was released near the end of June, but on Thursday the independent Lincoln Strategy Group released another poll which shows Penzone in the lead. The new poll has Penzone leading Arpaio 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent. Those first sets of numbers do not take undecided voters into account, but a second set does. When undecided voters were pressed to make a choice, the numbers show that they strongly favored Penzone. He currently leads 44.5 to 41.8 percent.
The poll also asked voters their opinion on the presidential election and the results heavily favored Trump. According to the numbers released on Thursday, Trump leads Clinton 41 percent to 32.3 percent.
Arpaio recently spoke at the Republican National Convention. You can see his speech below:
Featured image via Getty Images.