Who's leading the race for the open Senate seat in Arizona? That answer on Wednesday depended on whom you asked.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona sports a slight, 4-point lead over GOP Rep. Jeff Flake in a new poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The survey, conducted by Harstad Strategic Research in Boulder, Colo., shows the Democrat with 47 percent support to Flake's 43 percent.
Just a few hours later, Flake's campaign released their own poll, showing Flake with a 6-point lead over Carmona. Their survey, conducted by the Alexandria, Va.-based Tarrance Group, shows Flake with 49 percent support to Carmona's 43 percent support, with 8 percent of voters undecided.
Both polls were conducted over the past three evenings, and each one shows the race within the margin of error, though they differ when it comes to which candidate has the slim advantage.
The Democratic poll has Carmona leading 51-38 among Independents, and cutting into the GOP vote as well: While Carmona locks down 84 percent of the Democratic vote (Flake gets 8 percent), Flake gets 73 percent of the Republican vote (while Carmona takes 17 percent). The Republican poll has each candidate capturing 86 percent of their party's vote, and shows a dead heat among Independents: 43 percent for Flake, 44 percent for Carmona.
The DSCC poll has Flake with better name recognition than first-time candidate Carmona -- 74 percent of voters recognize him while 63 percent know of Carmona. The survey puts Carmona's favorability at 39 percent and unfavorability at 24 percent. Flake is view favorably by 36 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 38 percent.
The candidates will face off in their first debate Wednesday night. The race has just emerged as a battleground in recent weeks, as polls have shown a neck-and-neck contest in a state where fundamentals favor the GOP and where Flake has long been favored.
The DSCC poll was conducted Oct. 7-9 and surveyed 602 likely voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percentage points. The Flake poll was conducted Oct. 7-9 as well, and surveyed 453 likely voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4.7 percentage points.