|Poll||Date||Sample||Giffords (D)||Kelly (R)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||48.8||47.3||Giffords +1.5|
|AAF/Ayers (R)||8/25 - 8/29||400 LV||46||46||Tie|
|2008: Giffords (D) 55%, Bee (R) 43%||2008: McCain (R) 52%, Obama (D) 46%|
|2006: Giffords (D) 54%, Graf (R) 42%||2004: Bush (R) 53%, Kerry (D) 46%|
|2004: Kolbe (R) 60%, Bacal (D) 36%||2000: Bush (R) 49%, Gore (D) 47%|
10/24/10 -- There's been surprisingly little polling in this race, which both parties agree is competitive. Given the trajectory of races in other border districts, it seems that Kelly is probably the favorite, but it is difficult to tell by how much.
Arizona’s 8th Congressional District covers the southeastern portion of the state, and is centered on the eastern portions of Tucson. The Hispanic portions of the city have carefully been placed into the majority-Hispanic 2nd District; the portions of Tucson in the 7th are about 54 percent Hispanic, while the portions in the 2nd are only about 18% Hispanic.
The 8th was represented by moderate Republican Jim Kolbe from 1984 until his retirement in 2006. By the time Kolbe retired, the district had drifted significantly toward the Democrats. In 2004 it had voted for George W. Bush at about his national average, 53 percent, and only narrowly went for favorite son John McCain in 2008. It elected Gabrielle Giffords with 54 percent of the vote against a member of the anti-illegal immigrant Minutemen in 2006; the more moderate Tim Bee fared even worse against Giffords in 2008.
Like the other two Arizona Democrats representing Republican-leaning districts, Giffords has compiled a mostly conservative voting record. But in this Congress she has supported most of President Obama’s “big-ticket” items, including the stimulus, cap-and-trade and the health care bill. This may make it more difficult for her to credibly distance herself from the administration’s lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration law. Giffords is extremely well-funded, having raised over $2 million this cycle, but that might not be enough against her GOP opponent, Jesse Kelly, who has proved a credible fundraiser as well.