Arizona's congressional seats are likely to swing heavily Republican this Tuesday, giving conservatives a possible seven-to-one edge over Democrats in the state if all four contested races there change parties.
At issue for Democrats is the controversial SB 1070, a law that allows the state to enforce federal illegal immigration statutes.
Poll numbers in the First and Fifth Congressional Districts show voters clearly leaning toward the Republican candidates. In AZ-1, incumbent Anne Kirkpatrick, aNancy Pelosiloyalist, is down seven points to dentist and political newcomer Paul Gosar. In AZ-5, incumbent Harry Mitchell, Tempe's former mayor, is down four points to Republican David Schweikert. Mitchell defeated Schweikert two years ago.
Mitchell and Kirkpatrick have both been outspoken against SB 1070 and are now paying the price. Both also supported bills to legalize illegal immigrants in Arizona - in stark contrast to their opponents.
Arizona State University polling expert Bruce Merrill says the Republican 1070 stance is driving independent voters to their side. "The independents are breaking about 60-40 in terms of supporting a much tougher stand on illegal immigration," Merrill said.
Poll numbers show the other two districts are too close to predict, and could go either way. In the Seventh Congressional District, three-term incumbent Raul Grijalva could lose to a twenty-eight year old scientist with no political background. Ruth McClung, who's mother runs her campaign, could defeat Grijalva because he wanted businesses and tourists to boycott his own state.
The Eighth District has 114 miles of border with Mexico. Its incumbent Gabrielle Giffords also opposed SB1070 and favored legalization - the exact opposite of her opponent, former marine Jesse Kelly.
What will happen in Arizona may be a case of voters' revenge. While many Democrats, including PresidentBarack Obama, criticized SB1070, a good number of Arizona voters appear to be for it - and many may be critical independents. "We have had a tremendous increase in independents [in the state]," Merrill said. "So they almost hold the balance of power in Arizona."