That’s what a new poll — paid for by a committee supporting Flake — shows. The survey of 678 likely Republican voters shows Flake with a 45-23 percent lead over Cardon.
Magellan Strategies of Colorado conducted the poll on July 16 and 17 using an automated recording interview with people drawn randomly from an Arizona voter file. It was commissioned by Protect Arizona’s Freedom, a 527 committee backing Flake.
Here’s the percentage of people surveyed who said they would vote for Flake or Cardon if the Republican primary were held on the day they were called:
• Flake: 45 percent
• Cardon: 23 percent
• Some other candidate: 16 percent
• Undecided: 16 percent.
Flake and Cardon are joined on the Republican primary ballot by former Youngtown mayor Bryan Hackbarth and radio talk show host Clair Van Steenwyk, better known as ‘Van the Radio Man.’ The poll did not ask about those two candidates.
Flake is not buying the big lead, at least publicly.
"While it would be nice to have a lead this large, I suspect that the race is much closer than this," Flake posted on his Facebook page. "With less than two weeks until early balloting, we're campaigning as if we are behind."
The primary is Aug. 28, with early ballots going out on Aug. 2.
The winner in the GOP primary will face Richard Carmona, the former U.S. Surgeon General who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 6 general election. Carmona was not included in this poll.
The poll also asked the likely GOP voters if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion about the two candidates, with 44 percent saying they viewed Flake favorably and 24 percent saying they viewed Cardon favorably.
Flake, a six-term U.S. Congressman, had 96 percent ‘name ID’ with the people polled while Cardon, a wealthy Mesa businessman making his first run for public office, had 90 percent ‘name ID.’ That metric shows that Cardon has made inroads in making himself known with voters.
Just less than half of the people polled said they identified more closely with the Tea Party Movement (46 percent), which was a higher percentage than those who said they relate to the traditional Republican party (44 percent).
A poll of 500 Arizona voters done in May by Public Policy Polling showed Flake with a similar margin over Cardon — 42 to 20 percent. That was a much smaller lead for Flake than the 49-point percentage he held in a poll done by the same organization in February.
Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs and Becky Pallack on Twitter.