The headlines read "Only 25% Approve of Congress." Yet most voters are afraid to let go of their current representative. 53% say they like their congressman. Even when their congressman votes mostly with the other party, the fear of the "other side" candidate keeps them hanging on to what they can count on. Not that I put too much stock in a poll that is so long that it only attracts the disgruntled who have an axe to grind. But let's face it, nobody looks at today's congressmen and talks about what a great job they're doing.
What does this mean in a race with no incumbent? Well, we know that the outgoing incumbent's endorsement made little, if any, impact on the primary other than his ability to partner with big money to try and buy the election. If the endorsement, of itself, had no positive impact, than it suggests that either this district was not satisfied with its particular congressman, or that voters' overall dissatisfaction with congress was so great as to overshadow any positives from the departing official.
In either case, it suggests voters are demanding a change.
If the candidates stay on task and debate the issues directly, Randy holds the edge because the most salient issue to voters where substantial change is demanded is the border where Giffords record is weak and Graf owns the issue as the Border Hawk. This issue alone has the power to unite Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and even some Democrats.
The Democrat party knows this, so the DCCC is trying to create so much noise, or distraction, that the real issues become obscured and indistinguishable with the intent that voters will end up voting on likability or dis-likability instead of on issues. That this IS the strategy of the DCCC is evident by the Huffman-like slander TV ads right out of the gate followed by Jeff Smith's hack job and the pseudo-relationships contrived by the DCCC to smear Graf.
The ultimate question here is whether the Huffman/Republican party establishment figures have inflicted enough damage on Republicans and the Graf campaign for the DCCC to capitalize on, which they are obviously trying to do. If they have, the problems created for Republicans are voters staying home and volunteers bailing out of other campaigns like the struggling Kyl campaign.
Less certain is whether Tom Reynolds and the NRCC have enough sense to recognize the widespread damage they have inflicted and pour money into the Graf campaign which can create a windfall of support for Kyl by re-igniting his conservative base.
Of course, Giffords is banking on a hard-hitting smear campaign by the DCCC early on and Bill Clinton's poll showing a strong Giffords lead to weaken the NRCC's resolve.