The Slatest

Kyrsten Sinema Has Brought the Entire State of Arizona Together (in Thinking She Sucks)

A woman in a black and white shirt stands outside the Capitol.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in August. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisanship has always been important to Kyrsten Sinema, the senator from Arizona. Though she’s a Democrat, she has styled her career, it is often said, after “maverick” John McCain and prides herself on her frequent partnerships with Republicans. Her social media accounts and official statements often tout that she’s working “across the aisle,” trying to bring both sides together.

Well: mission accomplished!

A chart showing Kyrsten Sinema's approval rating among many demographics, in which every disapproval rating is between 50 and 60 percent.
AARP/Fabrizio Ward/Impact Research
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These numbers, from a new Arizona poll commissioned by the AARP, are pretty remarkable! Her unpopularity “crosses the aisle” like that of no politician I’ve ever seen. A solid 54 percent of Arizona Republicans don’t like her. And 51 percent of independents don’t like her (her best result!). As for Democrats? Arizonans of Sinema’s putative party simply do not like her, to the tune of 57 percent. (And that’s a distinct improvement from her 80 percent disapproval rating with Democrats in January!)

Name a demographic group, and Sinema is viewed unfavorably by a majority of them. Women? 55 percent unfavorable. Men? 53 percent unfavorable. White voters? 56 percent unfavorable. Hispanic voters? 54 percent unfavorable.

She’s not very popular with college graduates (53 percent unfavorable), but unfortunately she’s even less popular with people who haven’t graduated college (55 percent unfavorable).

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Voters 50 and over? Her unpopularity with them is also 50 and over (54 percent, specifically). But young people also don’t like her (55 percent unpopularity).

Basically, what I’m saying here is that to an extent that seems without precedent, Arizonans of every race, creed, gender, and political persuasion don’t like Kyrsten Sinema at basically the exact same rate. If you polled a critical mass of Arizonan Hindus, firefighters, octogenarians, or contact lens wearers, I expect you’d find that between 51 and 59 percent of them dislike Kyrsten Sinema, too. Good thing she’s not up for reelection this year!

Is there any reason to highlight these poll numbers, other than that they are funny? Yes! In January, my colleague Christina Cauterucci tried to figure out what exactly Sinema was trying to, like, do. What’s the game plan? She seems set up for failure in any 2024 primary. Her willingness to tank major parts of the Democratic agenda is so established now that even her role in helping the recent Inflation Reduction Act pass did not make a majority of her Democratic constituents like her. And while Arizona Republicans briefly warmed to Sinema when she skipped the Jan. 6 Commission vote, it’s not like they would ever vote for her in a Republican primary—not as long as the GOP can scrape up at least one Nathan Arizona–type blowhard with a MAGA hat and a pulse.

Cauterucci, in January, highlighted a rumor that Sinema was attempting to set herself up for a run for president in 2024 as a straight-down-the-middle candidate. If this happens, these poll numbers suggest that she may, indeed, be the one candidate who can truly unite America.

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