Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 29, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Cronkite-Eight Poll

  |   Video
  • Who do Arizona voters favor in the upcoming presidential election? Also, find out what they feel about the job President Bush is doing in the latest Cronkite/ Eight Poll. Poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill and assistant poll director Dr. Tara Blanc will analyze the results. Read the complete results.
Guests:
  • Dr. Bruce Merrill - Director, Cronkite-Eight Poll
  • Dr. Tara Blanc - Associate Director, Cronkite-Eight Poll
Category: Cronkite-Eight Poll

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon," who are Arizonans likely to vote for in the presidential election? Find out, as we release the results of the latest Cronkite/Eight poll.

Ted Simons:
Plus, we continue our series on Arizona's child protective services, with a look at problems of the system. Those stories next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight members of your Arizona PBS station, thank you.

Ted Simons:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons.

Ted Simons:
Before we get to those stories, we have some special guests in the studio next door tonight. It is "phone-a-lawyer" night here at eight. You can call the number on your screen and get free legal advice by telephone. Attorneys from the Maricopa county bar association are taking your calls until 9:00 tonight. That number is 480-965-1998.

Ted Simons:
Senator John McCain gets more support than either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in Arizona, and unlike our last poll, voters think he can win it all in November. Those questioned in the latest Cronkite eight poll give president Bush bad marks for his job performance, but like the job that governor Napolitano and some county officials are doing. The poll was conducted April 24th through the 27th by KAET Eight TV and the Walter Cronkite school of journalism and mass communication at Arizona state university. 577 registered Arizona voters were interviewed and the overall margin of error is 4\%. It's 5.3\% for questions asked just of Maricopa county voters and 6.9 for questions aimed just at Democrats. Here are the results�

Mike Sauceda:
Just of Maricopa county voters and 6.9\% for questions aimed just at democrats. Here are the results. In a head to head competition 47\% selected John McCain and 38\% Obama. We asked why. 22\% don't want Obama to be president. 20\% support republican and 15\% likes John McCain's experience. Voters who supported Obama were asked why pick him over Obama. 37\% said he's a democrat, 16\% said mess of hope, 14\% dislike or distrust John McCain and 13\% said because he's liberal. The poll respondents thought John McCain would win against Obama 44\% to 34\%. In a head to head with Senator McCain and Senator Hillary Clinton 53\% and 37\% Clinton. Senator Barack Obama 37\% Clinton and 53\% said 53. 31\% who would vote for Clinton picked her other John McCain because he's a democrat and would vote her because she would change Bush's policy. We asked who would win against the democratic nominee in November. 53\% said John McCain and 37\% said Clinton. As nominee 45\% said Obama and 39\% said Clinton. 55\% who picked Obama said they would vote for Clinton if she was picked. 10\% will definitely vote for John McCain. 51\% of Clinton supporters said they would definitely vote for her. 51\% who picked Clinton said they would vote for Obama if he was picked, 11\% would probably vote for him and 9\% would probably vote for John McCain.

Mike Sauceda:
8\% would vote for John McCain. 34\% said president Bush was doing an excellent job, 31\% said he was doing a good job, 29\% said very poor. 27\% of those surveyed thought Arizona governor janet napolitano is doing an excellent job, 49\% said good, 13\% said poor and 4\% very poor. 40\% said Maricopa county attorney is doing an excellent job, 14\% thinks he's doing a poor job. 14\% said very poor and 43\% had no opinion. Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio 59\% approved while he got a 31\% poor rating and 36\% said very poor. 36\% said Phil Gordon is doing good job and 36\% had no opinion.

Ted Simons:
Here to discuss the Cronkite-Eight poll is its director, Dr. Bruce Merrill. And associate director of the poll Dr. Tara Blanc. Congratulations on that doctor, doctor. You need three initials don't you? We'll start with you. Obama stronger challenger to McCain in Arizona, is their a surprise their?

Tara Blanc:
Not really. We found in February after Super Tuesday although Clinton won Arizona that Obama would be a stronger candidate against John McCain than Clinton would. They found that Obama support against John McCain has dropped. He was the stronger of the two candidates.

Ted Simons:
Stronger of the two candidates and saying John McCain can win it all.

Tara Blanc:
They are saying that and it's interesting and probably about the fussing with the two candidates and Reverend Wright and Obama. We have seen a turn around instead of Obama beating John McCain and John McCain beat Clinton but now they think it's either one.

Ted Simons:
Talk about independence here.

Tara Blanc:
They are more a factor for Obama because he draws the independent voters. He split those with John McCain which accounts for the higher support for Obama in Arizona than Clinton.

Ted Simons:
if it's higher support for Obama, then Clinton or Obama better perhaps or John McCain with independence Iraq war big factor for independence?

Tara Blanc:
That seems to be what people are looking at is independence.

Ted Simons:
Bruce, John McCain numbers are they positive for John McCain and voters saying I don't like the other guys?

Bruce Merrill:
It depends on who he is running against. When he runs against Obama, the numbers are basically positive for John McCain that he's had experience, particularly a military hero. His tax policies. But when he--when we ran him against Hillary Clinton, it was fascinating. 55\% of those that we talked to actually said they were voting for John McCain because they couldn't stand Hillary Clinton or they didn't want another Clinton in the white house. The negative numbers on her in Arizona are really astounding.

Ted Simons:
Is there a way to for anybody to figure out why the numbers are staggering?

Bruce Merrill:
The primary voters, when you have a primary, the person that does best is the party candidate. Hillary Clinton is clearing more of the democratic party candidates than Obama who is more of a media candidate than anything. I don't think we know but we know from national polls that she has the highest negatives of any person that's ever run for the presidency.

Ted Simons:
As far as Clinton supporters, okay, what do you see different between them and Obama supporters?

Bruce Merrill:
Well, there's really some big differences. As I said Hillary Clinton is the older establishment and working class candidate. Obama--in the long run it may be positive for the democratic party--his support is among the affluent and better educated people and mostly importantly very young college students and young professionals, young tradition voters and people who haven't participated before.

Ted Simons:
The Jeremiah Wright situation the former pastor, current pastor, we're not sure as far as Obama's concerned. Much in terms of trending.

Tara Blanc:
It could be. We didn't have much mentioned about why they would vote for one candidate or another. What we have seen from all of the things going on. I think there is an impact in terms of Obama and whether they would support him based on how closely he is aligned with the views of Reverend Wright or what he might subscribe to or not.

Ted Simons:
In the history from the past can a Reverend Wright situation fester?

Bruce Merrill:
Sure it can. It's particular in the two states it's coming up in North Carolina and Indiana. These are the states that where Obama makes inroads with the white, working class, blue collar kind of guy. That's the guy that doesn't like what he's hearing from Reverend Wright. I think the two states next Tuesday will be very pivotal in this race.

Ted Simons:
The governor's numbers statewide trending higher?

Tara Blanc:
We haven't asked the question in a long time. I know they are in excess of 60\% approval rating. She is a very popular governor. People like what she does. People like what she says and--I don't believe she's had a bad period with Arizona voters since she's been elected.

Ted Simons:
The numbers in terms of Maricopa county, the sheriff, the county attorney, the mayor of phoenix and they are pretty high up and folks on different ends of the spectrum as far as immigration is concerned.

Tara Blanc:
Absolutely. Honestly we were surprised with the approval rating among those with an opinion was evenly spread very close one or two samplings. One difference we found is as you would expect people in Arizona are more familiar with Joe Arpaio or Andrew Thomas or Phil Gordon. He's a more recognized name. He's been in the media a lot more. He's certainly more controversial and gotten more attention. They are more familiar with Joe Arpaio and others.

Ted Simons:
A lot of folks don't know who the others are.

Bruce Merrill:
Keep in mind, Joe's in the media an awful lot and been in office a long time. Neither the mayor and Andrew Thomas has been in very long. Sheriff Joe's identity is largely based on his anti-immigration policies. Frankly, in general, most people in Arizona and Maricopa county support him.

Ted Simons:
Thank you for joining us on Horizon.

Protecting Arizona's Children Part 2

  |   Video
  • In part two of our series about Arizona Child Protective Services, we examine problems of the system. We profile John Gray, father of four-year-old Haley, who died in the custody of her mother. Gray had been battling CPS to gain custody of his three children from his ex-wife. He has sought reforms at the state level and is now suing CPS for wrongful death. Arizona Republic editorialist Laurie Roberts joins us to talk about the many cases she has covered in her column.
Guests:
  • Laurie Roberts - Arizona Republic


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
In part two of our series on Arizona's child protective services, we examine problems with the system. In a moment, we will talk about some of the cases where C.P.S. Has been accused of failing to remove or properly supervise children who are in dangerous or abusive situations. First, we meet a father who blames C.P.S. For the death of his child. John gray's 4-year-old daughter died in the custody of her mother. Gray had lost custody of his children because he was in prison. Once out, gray battled C.P.S. Over the children's safety. Gray is now suing C.P.S. For wrongful death. He could not talk about his case because it is heading to court. But gray did talk with Merry Lucero about his daughter and the work he has been doing since her death.

John Gray:
She was all girl.

John Gray:
She wanted to be a ballerina. She was a little girl who when she walked in the room, she lit up the room. She was a light. I was going to church in Scottsdale and I had a phone call saying that Haley was missing. And from her mom and so I just did a beeline over to their home. And when I got there, there was police who had barricades and not allowing people out of the apartment complex. They had a center already set up and there was a lot of police around. They are doing checks on predators and I was overhearing things like that. And of course I was obviously concerned. Our first thought was maybe she was abducted by some weird person. And you know, right away we prayed. I prayed with my son. Excuse me. And shortly after that, they found her in the vehicle. In her mother's car, locked in there. I remember seeing they took her out--they took my daughter out. She didn't have any clothes on and laid her down and I thought she's going to be okay. She'll be okay.

Merry Lucero:
But Haley Gray was not okay. Four days later she died. Haley and her two brothers had been in the custody of her mother who had past records of problems with child protective services.

John Gray:
My focus became on my boys. At the hospital, C.P.S. Signed over to me. The children over to me. were in my care. I was able to care for them the way I had hoped they would be cared for and to guide them, to lead them, to nurture them, and to take care of their basic needs which hadn't been happening in the past. I went to the police station and got my boys and we started. That was one of the gifts that she gave to her brothers was that now they were safe.

Merry Lucero:
John Gray now focuses on raising his sons and seeking change in the C.P.S. System. He established a foundation and a website cpsabuse.com to express the tragedy of her death and call for C.P.S. To admit wrongdoing.

John Gray:
I'm sure C.P.S. Doesn't have an easy job. I know it's not an easy job. It can't be an easy job to be a C.P.S. Worker but there comes a point where you have to do something.

Merry Lucero:
He did something beyond his own daughter's death. He testified at the state legislature and persuaded lawmakers to pass Haley's law. It requires C.P.S. Workers to track abuse and neglect committed in other states. Gray's case is going to the court and he's suing the state for the wrongful death of Haley. His attorney, Jorge Franco.

Jorge Franco:
Through his efforts that has become a law is a great thing. Clearly that's a sign of progress. However there already is a rule that historically required that C.P.S. Workers do that. People might argue whether it's a law in the sense that it's a law now that its been codified as Haley's law. It's been part of administrative coded statutory scheme that they have to investigate all relevant information. It's logical thought to tells you if the subject of my investigation used to live in another state, then I need to know if that person was involved with social services or C.P.S. In that state because they may have information that goes to the assessing the level of risk a child is in. Basically there's a law now on the books for something that really shouldn't require a law.

Merry Lucero:
This is not the first case against C.P.S. By Franco and his firm.

Jorge Franco:
In Arizona we know we have very high statistics of child fatalities over the past five to 10 years that during that time there's been a lot of talk about reform and progress and changes. And the general perception at least on my part and I think a lot of other people, is that we're not seeing it yet. So our motivation as lawyers being involved in these cases is clearly to be part of that momentum that hopefully one day starts to show itself in the way of better systems, better supervision of workers, better qualified workers, more reasonable case loads, whatever the symptoms of C.P.S. Are seeing them cured so that when--ultimately, when that's all done the statistics of child harm or fatality in Arizona reduce or disappear.

Merry Lucero:
In the meantime the website, the legislation and the lawsuit gives gray a forum for voicing his loss.

John Gray:
It was something that was a healing thing for me, you know. You know, initially I started off with trying to get criminal charges brought against the workers because I was angry, you know, that this was something that could have been avoided. And so but one thing led to another and I realize that, you know, it's bigger than Haley. It's bigger than me, my family. It's bigger than us. It's about all the children out there who may be affected like this.

Ted Simons:
Arizona Republic Lori Roberts joins us. They got calls on Haley but they didn't meet the criteria for the report. We talked to C.P.S. And overseers yesterday and there was a lot of talk we're doing the best we can within the confines of how we work. This case included, how do you see that?

Laurie Roberts:
That case I think they need to change the confines in the way they work. The Haley gray case, I don't know how much background your piece had on them but this is a little girl along with two older brothers who were in the custody with the mother. The mother had a pretty serious drinking problem. The first she appeared on C.P.S.'s radar screen when she went to daycare to pick them up at 4:00 p.m. And she was so drunk the daycare workers called the police and C.P.S. and said: we are concerned she won't be safe. Sure enough she got down a block of the road and got in an accident. She couldn't stand up because she was so drunk and the kids were not hurt. C.P.S. Took the kids and the policy is unification and returned them to the mother after C.P.S.'s recommendation. Eventually more and more complaints and comments coming in especially John Gray, the father. She's drinking again, possibly doing other things and I'm concerned for my children's safety. The baby-sitter called and said she showed up drunk and I think it's a concern. They said it did not arise to the level of a report. It was a status report as opposed to a report of concern. More calls were made. C.P.S. Tells her you have to take drug tests and urinalysis tests and comes up with months after months of excuses and then takes it and passes. They say, you know, clearly she's not a problem. The day comes when the children were returned to her. She had a late night of celebrating the previous night. John gray returns the children who had been on a weekend visit with him. Little Haley had been given a makeup case and left it in the car. So while mom is--I won't use the word passed out--sleeping the afternoon away, Haley goes out to the car to retrieve the makeup case that her father bought her. The van door shuts on her. She can't get out of the van and dies.

Ted Simons:
Quickly. I want to get to other things here. C.P.S. Erred how?

Laurie Roberts:
When you look at the records, they seem to suggest the father is angry. They decided the mother was not the person she was painted to be and anything he had did had to fit into that. They were not sufficiently skeptical to get a good picture of what was going on in that house.

Ted Simons:
You mentioned earlier how there's so much emphasis on reunification, is there too much focus on the rights of parents in C.P.S. Cases right now? The way the legislature looks at it, the way the statutes are set up it seems to fall more on the parents than getting the child out of these situations?

Laurie Roberts:
Several years ago when the governor took office, the big question was rights of the parents and rights of children to make it to kindergarten or to first grade. She said let there be no mistake if you have to err on the side of something, let it be the side of child safety. From foster parents and child protective service investigators and all sorts of people, they tell me the plan is always for reunification. There's not a week that goes by I don't get a call from a set of grandparents who tells me they are raising the child because their children are drug addicts and then see the light and suddenly want to be the parents and clean for three months and C.P.S. Is yanking them from the home they have only known to be back with the parent who's been clean for what, 10 minutes.

Ted Simons:
Is that the fault of C.P.S. or the legislature and climate in Arizona that says get the kids to the family no matter what?

Laurie Roberts:
I will say federal law requires that C.P.S. Makes all reasonable efforts to reunify children with the families. That's a smart thing. We don't want the long arm of the law coming in because we spank them too hard. If there's danger or a terrible case of abuse, you don't have to reunify in those cases. I could tell you a story that's been eight or nine years of a little girl where there were severe reports of a abuse, bruises, black eyes. Bruises in the shape of fists one time. Every time C.P.S. Says, no, we can't find evidence of sufficient abuse until the child is killed. Even then when the child is beaten to death and both parents are in jail for murder, C.P.S. Is planning a reunification of the children that were not killed.

Ted Simons:
Is C.P.S. Held to an impossible standard?

Laurie Roberts:
It's hard to say yet because the records are not opened. I hope that changes. I think they are held to terribly high standards and they should be because we're talking about children. The most vulnerable children in the state that often have parents that often don't give a damn. Can we hold them to a lesser standard? I don't think so.

Ted Simons:
Thank you for joining us.

Ted Simons:
Our series on child protective services continues as we take a look at what state lawmakers are doing to make the agency more accountable to the public. That's tomorrow, Wednesday, evening at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Ted Simons:
Before we leave tonight, a reminder. You can call the number on your screen and get free legal advice by phone. Attorneys from the Maricopa county bar association are here for phone a lawyer night, answering calls in the studio until 9:00. That number is 480-965-1998.

What's on?

Content Partner:

  About KAET Contact Support Legal Follow Us  
  About Eight
Mission/Impact
History
Site Map
Pressroom
Contact Us
Sign up for e-news
Pledge to Eight
Donate Monthly
Volunteer
Other ways to support
FCC Public Files
Privacy Policy
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Pinterest
 

Need help accessing? Contact disabilityaccess@asu.edu

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University    Copyright Arizona Board of Regents