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Cronkite-Eight Poll

FOR INFORMATION:
Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at (480) 965-7051
EMBARGOED UNTIL Oct. 24, 2006, at 7 p.m.

Pederson campaign closing on Kyl

Governor Napolitano with big lead in governor’s race

Immigration reform initiatives passing

Proposition 201 favored over proposition 206

Gay marriage and vote by mail propositions failing

TEMPE, Ariz. – With two weeks to go before the November elections, a new statewide Cronkite-Eight Poll found that in the race for the U.S. Senate, challenger Jim Pederson is gaining on incumbent Sen. Jon Kyl. Forty-seven percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Kyl, 41 percent for Pederson and 3 percent for Libertarian Richard Mack; 9 percent were undecided. The statewide poll of 1,019 registered voters identified as “most likely to vote” was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University Oct. 19–22. A Cronkite-Eight Poll of likely voters in October showed Kyl leading Pederson by 11 percentage points.

In this survey, voters also were asked why they were voting for Kyl or Pederson. The three biggest reasons given for voting for Kyl included the job he has been doing in Washington (25 percent of all comments), his affiliation with the Republican Party (12 percent) and dislike for Jim Pederson (11 percent).

The three main reasons given for voting for Pederson included voting against Kyl and/or Bush (40 percent), the need for a change of direction in Washington (22 percent) and the fact that Pederson is the Democratic nominee (17 percent).

According to Dr. Bruce Merrill, who conducted the poll, “Pederson has closed the gap significantly since our last poll. He has narrowed the ‘party crossover’ advantage Kyl has enjoyed so far in the race. Pederson also has strengthened his percentage of the vote in heavily Democratic Pima County and is gaining support among male voters in Arizona who previously were disproportionately for Kyl. Finally, there is an increasing number of voters in Arizona who are voting against President George Bush and the Republican Party in Washington. It now looks like the candidate who does the best job in getting their supporters to the poll will win.”

The Cronkite-Eight Poll also found that Gov. Janet Napolitano has a large lead over her Republican challenger Len Munsil 67 percent to 24 percent. Libertarian Barry Hess received one percent of the vote; only eight percent of those interviewed were undecided. The poll found that Governor Napolitano is leading because she is winning the party crossover battle, with 46 percent of the Republicans saying they will vote for Napolitano while only 5 percent of the Democrats are supporting Munsil. Also, she is getting 65 percent of the vote in heavily Republican Maricopa County.

Seventy-three percent of Napolitano’s supporters said they are voting for her because of the job she has been doing as governor. Munsil supporters are voting for him because they don’t want Napolitano to have another term in office (28 percent), because he is the Republican nominee (19 percent) and because of his socially conservative values or positions (17 percent).

“Republicans will tend to ‘come back’ to their party’s nominee as the election nears so I expect the race to tighten a bit over the next two weeks,” Merrill adds. “However, the question for Munsil is still whether or not he has the time and money to overtake Napolitano’s big lead.”

One indication of the mood souring for Republicans in Arizona was found when voters were asked which party they would prefer to have in control of the U.S. Congress after this fall’s elections are over. Thirty-six percent of those interviewed said the Republican Party, 49 percent said the Democratic Party and 25 percent they weren’t sure. Sixteen percent of the Republicans said they hoped the Democratic Party would be in control next year.

The Cronkite-Eight Poll also found that Arizona voters continue to support all of the propositions aimed at curbing illegal immigration. Voters also supported Proposition 201, which would prohibit smoking in most public places and impose a two-cent-per-package tax on cigarettes to fund enforcement, but are split on a similar measure, Proposition 206, which would allow smoking in bars with separate ventilation systems and impose no taxes on cigarettes. Finally, a majority of voters indicated that they will vote against a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages in Arizona and deny governmental entities from providing benefits to unmarried domestic partners.

The statewide telephone poll of 1019 voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET-TV and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Fifty-nine percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 18 percent in Pima County, and 23 percent in the less populated counties. The sample was 40 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 26 percent libertarians or independents. Forty-eight percent of voters interviewed were males and 52 percent females.

Question wording:

1. Republican U.S. Senator Jon Kyl is running for re-election this fall against former Democratic state chairman Jim Pederson and Libertarian Richard Mack.
If the election were being held today, would you probably vote for:
Kyl 47%
Pederson 41
Mack 3
don’t know 9

2. Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano is running for re-election against Republican Len Munsil and Libertarian Barry Hess.
If the election were being held today, will you probably vote for:
Napolitano 67%
Munsil 24
Hess 1
don’t know 8

3. After this falls elections are over, would you rather have the Republicans or the Democrats be in control of Congress?
Republicans 36%
Democrats 49
Not sure 15

We also would like to ask you about a few propositions that will appear on the ballot this fall.

4. Proposition 107 will amend the Arizona constitution to ban same-sex marriages and would bar governmental entities such as cities, counties, school districts and universities from providing employee benefits to unmarried partners. Will you vote for or against this proposition?
For 30%
Against 56
Undecided 14

5. Proposition 300 will prevent undocumented immigrants from taking English and other state-funded, adult-education classes and would not allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Will you vote for or against this proposition?
For 45%
Against 38
Undecided 17

6. Proposition 103 will amend the state’s constitution to make English the official language of Arizona and would require most state business to be conducted only in English. Will you vote for or against this measure?
For 63%
Against 28
Undecided 9

7. Proposition 102 will prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving punitive damages in lawsuits. Will you vote for or against this proposition?
For 55%
Against 28
Undecided 17

8. Proposition 100 will automatically keep undocumented immigrants in jail without bail if they are charged with serious felonies. Will you vote for or against this proposition?
For 66%
Against 21
Undecided 13

9. Proposition 201 will prohibit smoking in all public places, including places of employment. It exempts tobacco shops, outdoor patios and designated hotel /motel rooms. It also imposes a two-cent per-pack tax on cigarettes to pay for enforcement. Will you vote for or against this proposition?
For 55%
Against 37
Undecided 8

10. Proposition 206 will prohibit smoking in all public places, including places of employment. It exempts tobacco shops, outdoor patios, designated hotel /motel rooms and bars with separate ventilation systems that prohibit minors. Will you vote for or against this proposition? .
For 44%
Against 45
Undecided 11


11. Proposition 205 will change voting procedures in Arizona by requiring a ballot to be mailed to every registered voter automatically and all elections to be conducted by mail, restricting polling places to a minimum number of countywide locations. Will you vote for or against this proposition?
For 28%
Against 59
Undecided 13

KAET-TV is a part of Arizona State University.

Cronkite/EIGHT poll results are located on the EIGHT Web site at www.azpbs.org.