Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema’s decision to leave the Democratic Party does not sit well with Democrats, according to the latest Economist/YouGov poll — but it may have bought her some favorability with Independents and Republicans.
Sinema will register as a political independent while likely caucusing with the Democrats — a similar path to the ones taken by Senators Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Democrats disapprove of the decision by a margin of 43% to 28%, while Independents are more likely to approve (35%) than disapprove (17%) of Sinema's move. Republicans overwhelmingly approve, 62% to 10%.
Despite their approval of her move away from her Democratic registration, Independents nationally don’t necessarily have a favorable opinion of Sinema. More Independents disapprove (27%) than approve (21%) of her, though the margin toward disapproval is smaller among Independents than in an Economist/YouGov Poll conducted in August. At that time, 37% of Independents disapproved of Sinema, and 14% approved. Republicans' image of Sinema has improved since then (moving from 16% favorable in August to 32% favorable now).
The other two independent Senators — King and Sanders — get more favorable than unfavorable evaluations from Democrats; Sanders is far better known than King. Independents have mixed assessments of each, with Republicans negative toward King and overwhelmingly so when it comes to Sanders.
— Carl Bialik contributed to this article
Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to June 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (34% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.
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