Kyrsten Sinema's Approval Rating Among Democrats Plummets Amid Infrastructure Fight

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has suffered a sharp decline in support among Democratic voters in Arizona amid ongoing tensions on Capitol Hill about a proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

Morning Consult Political Intelligence tracking shows Sinema's approval among registered voters in Arizona stood at just 42 percent in the third quarter of 2021, down from 48 percent in the first quarter.

The decline among Democratic Arizona voters is especially severe with 46 percent now approving of the senator. This is down from 67 percent in the first quarter of the year.

That represents a decline of 21 points, while 40 percent of Democrats disapproved of Sinema in the third quarter. That figure stood at 20 percent in the first quarter.

Sinema's disapproval rating among all Arizona voters has increased from 35 percent in the first quarter to 42 percent in the third quarter.

The polls also found that fewer independent Arizona voters approved of Sinema, with just 38 percent approving of her in the third quarter, down from 43 percent in the first quarter. Disapproval of the senator among independents rose from 32 percent to 41 percent over the same period.

The Morning Consult polls were conducted from January 1 to March 31 and from July 1 to September 30 among at least 8,057 registered voters and had a margin of error of 1 percent.

Sinema has been the focus of controversy in recent weeks as Democrats in Congress have attempted to reach agreement on two infrastructure packages. The senator has said she does not support the proposed $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act, which would invest in so-called "human infrastructure" and see an expansion of the social safety net.

A separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, already passed by the Senate, has been held up in the House of Representatives by progressives who want to link its passage to the larger bill, which would be passed using the budget reconciliation.

That process would not require Republican support but Sinema and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) would need to back the $3.5 trillion package for it to pass in the evenly divided Senate. Both senators have said they will not do so.

Sinema was recently confronted by activists from a group called Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) during a visit to Arizona State University (ASU). Video posted on social media showed the activists following Sinema into a bathroom.

The activists' actions were widely criticized and Sinema issued a statement on Monday about the incident.

"Yesterday's behavior was not legitimate protest," she said. "It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom."

"In the 19 years I have been teaching at ASU, I have been committed to creating a safe and intellectually challenging environment for my students," Sinema said. "Yesterday, that environment was breached. My students were unfairly and unlawfully victimized. This is wholly inappropriate."

Sinema is a lecturer at ASU's School of Social Work. The Arizona senator will not face reelection until 2024 if she chooses to run for a second term.

Kyrsten Sinema Appears With Senate Colleagues
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) speak to members of the press as they arrive at the U.S. Capitol after a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on June 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Sinema's approval among Democrats in her home state of Arizona fell 21 points from the first to the third quarters. Alex Wong/Getty Images