PHOENIX -- Democrat Terry Goddard would lose the race for governor if he faced off today against incumbent Jan Brewer, according to a new statewide poll.
But he might be able to defeat any of the other key Republicans if they managed to oust Brewer in the GOP primary -- maybe.
The Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 likely voters, conducted Monday, found Goddard the favorite of 39 percent of those questioned if asked to choose between him and Brewer. She was preferred by 52 percent, with 7 percent wanting someone else and the balance unsure.
A month earlier the same survey put Brewer's lead over Goddard at just 4 points. And a month before that, Goddard actually was beating her by a 45-36 percent margin.
Goddard said he's not dismayed by the results.
"You always like to be ahead,' he told Capitol Media Services. "But it's a long time until the election.'
And he said the results are not surprising.
"The governor got a big, big push from almost $2 million in advertising for Prop 100, most of which featured her,' Goddard said, referring to the successful campaign to temporarily hike the sales tax by a penny.
"That's undeniable and I think she's basking in that sunlight,' he continued. "But it's not going to last very long.'
That popularity is reflected in another survey question which found that 29 percent of those questioned strongly approve of the job Brewer is doing, with another 35 percent saying they somewhat approve.
Goddard said the fact there are more Republicans than Democrats in Arizona does not doom his campaign. He pointed out that neither party has a majority, with three out of every 10 registered voters listing no party preference.
And Goddard said the upcoming campaign gives him a chance to talk about "the disaster that is this state's budget' and what he said is a lack of a vision and a plan by the incumbent to deal with it.
Goddard said he has a proposal to diversify the economy, though he acknowledged all the details have not yet been released.
The survey also finds that a head-to-head race between Goddard and state Treasurer Dean Martin produces no clear winner, with the same true of a face-off between Goddard and John Munger.
But against Owen Buz Mills, Goddard has 38 percent of the vote versus 45 percent for Mills, still within the margin of error of 4.5 percentage points for any specific number.
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