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Photo of Fred Duval (D) talking to some people
Likely Democratic nominee Fred DuVal
It looks like a whole lot of Arizona voters are really determined not to make up their minds yet for this fall's open seat race for governor. What little polling we've seen so far has all shown high numbers of undecideds, including a Monday internal from likely Democratic nominee Fred DuVal. Public Policy Polling doesn't typically follow this pattern, but their new survey is a little different from the rest of the pack. DuVal is little known, with a favorability rating of just 13-14, but the same is true of the entire GOP field. Here's how DuVal fares against his Republican opponents, with their favorables in parentheses:
• 33-39 vs. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (15-13)

• 33-37 vs. Secretary of State Ken Bennett (12-24)

• 36-35 vs. state Treasurer Doug Ducey (11-20)

• 35-32 vs. physician John Molina (7-12)

• 36-32 vs. former California U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs (5-13)

• 37-33 vs. former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones (9-15)

• 37-32 vs. state Sen. Al Melvin (4-22)

• 40-35 vs. former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas (13-29)

While the whole race trades in a narrow band, as Wall Street types might say, the matchups on the edges make sense. DuVal's toughest opponent is Smith, who has a reputation as something of a moderate for his stances on immigration and guns. His weakest, meanwhile, is Thomas, who was disbarred in 2012 for some pretty extreme ethics violations.

But what makes for a more electable candidate in a general election usually has the opposite effect in a GOP primary, and vice versa. Luckily for someone like Smith, the field is incredibly jam-packed, and the race for the Republican nomination, as you'd expect, has barely taken shape:

Bennett: 20
Jones: 16
Smith: 12
Thomas: 9
Ducey: 6
Melvin: 1
Molina: 1
Riggs: 1
Undecided: 34
It's very possible that the ultimate winner could prevail with a relatively small plurality. But regardless of who emerges as the GOP nominee, the general election numbers show that there's a real chance for this contest to become very competitive. Thanks to Arizona's reddish demographics and expected mid-term falloff for Democrats, Daily Kos Elections currently rates this race as Lean Republican. But it's received little national attention so far and could wind up as a serious sleeper.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:04 AM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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