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Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at (480) 965-7051
Can be used after 7 p.m., Tuesday, August 24, 2004




A new statewide poll of 400 registered voters conducted by KAET-TV/Channel 8 and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University August 19 - 22, 2004, found that President George Bush has increased his support in Arizona against Senator John Kerry in the last 30 days but the race is still a statistical dead heat. Forty-seven percent said they would vote for Bush, 39 percent were supporting Kerry and 14 percent were undecided. In July, 41 percent of those surveyed were supporting Bush, 42 percent were for Kerry and 17 percent were undecided. In the current poll, when undecided voters were asked who they were "leaning toward" supporting, 53 percent said they will vote for Bush and 47 percent for Kerry.

Among voters with the highest probability of voting,* the race tightened. Forty-five percent were voting for Bush, 42 percent for Kerry and 13 percent were undecided. The race for president in Arizona remains highly polarized. Eighty-six percent of Bush's supporters and 94 percent of Kerry's supporters said they are very firm in their commitment and are unlikely to change their mind between now and November.

The poll suggests that Bush's increasing support is largely coming from registered independents. While 14 percent of the Republicans said they would cross over to vote for Kerry and 14 percent of the Democrats said they would choose Bush, independents were supporting Bush by a two-to-one margin (52 percent to 26 percent). The survey also found that people who regularly attend religious services are much more supportive of Bush than Kerry (61 percent to 29 percent). No "gender gap" was found in this poll.

Fifty-one percent of those interviewed approved of the job Bush is doing as president, 43 percent disapproved and 6 percent had no opinion. A majority (51 percent) approved of how Bush is handling terrorism, 46 percent approved of the way he is handling the economy and 46 percent of the way he is handling the war effort in Iraq.

The survey also found considerable support for Proposition 200. Sixty-four percent of all registered voters said they would support the proposition, 22 percent were opposed and 14 percent were undecided. Sixty-one percent of those supporting Proposition 200 and 55 percent of those opposed said they felt strongly about their vote. Republicans and independents were more supportive of the proposition than Democrats. There were not enough Hispanics in the sample to analyze how they might vote.

Forty-nine percent of registered voters thought that the Protect Arizona Now Committee's association with self-identified racial separatist Virginia Abernathy would decrease the probability of passing Proposition 200 in Arizona. Ten percent said they thought the association with the controversial professor would help pass the measure and 41 percent said they didn't know what effect her association might have.

On another subject, by a four-to-one margin (64 percent for and 15 percent against), voters said they support fogging to reduce the threat of West Nile virus. Eighty-five percent of those living in Maricopa support fogging.

The statewide poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percent. Forty-eight percent of those interviewed were male; 52 percent female. Fifty-eight percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 18 percent in Pima County, and 24 percent in the less populated counties. The sample consisted of 40 percent Republicans, 35 percent Democrats and 25 percent independents or other.

*A high-efficacy voter scale was developed based on how people responded to the following items: how important the election is to them; whether they read a newspaper on a daily basis; whether they watch a newscast on a daily basis; how closely they tend to follow politics; their age; their level of education; the strength of their political ideology; and their sex.


1. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job George Bush is doing as president of the United States?

approve 51%
disapprove 43%
don't know/no opinion 6%

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the U.S. economy?

approve 46%
disapprove 47%
don't know/no opinion 7%

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the war against terrorism?

approve 51%
disapprove 43%
don't know/no opinion 6%

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the war in Iraq?

approve 46%
disapprove 51%
don't know/no opinion 3%

5. In the upcoming presidential election, will you probably vote for:

Republican George Bush 47%
Democrat John Kerry 39%
don't know/no opinion 14%


6. ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR BUSH OR KERRY: Would you say you are pretty firm in your support for (candidate chosen) or is there a possibility you might change your mind before election day?

  Kerry Bush
firm in support 94% 86%
might change mind 6% 14%

7. IF UNDECIDED: Would you say you are leaning toward Bush or Kerry?

Bush 53%
Kerry 47%

8. Proposition 200, an initiative called "The Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act" will appear on the November general election ballot. This initiative would require individuals in Arizona to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote, proof of identity when voting and proof of eligibility to receive non-federally mandated state and local social and welfare services. It also would require state government workers to report anyone applying for benefits that they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. The initiative would make it a misdemeanor to fail to report such individuals. Will you probably vote for or against this initiative?

vote for 64%
vote against overturning 22%
don't know/no opinion 14%

9. Protect Arizona Now, the group promoting the passage of Proposition 200 has named Virginia Abernathy, a Vanderbilt University professor emeritus who is a self-described racial "separatist," as chairwoman of its national advisory board. Do you think this will increase or decrease the chances that Proposition 200 will pass in November?

increase chances of passing 10%
decrease chances 49%
no opinion 41%

10. In an effort to reduce the threat of West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, Maricopa County is conducting ground-level mosquito foggings using a synthetic version of a natural pesticide. While some people believe this is a necessary step, others are concerned about the risks of exposure to pesticides. Do you support or oppose using ground fogging with pesticides?

support 64%
oppose 15%
no opinion 21%

KAET-TV is a part of Arizona State University