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Cronkite-Eight Poll


Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at (480) 965-7051
EMBARGOED UNTIL Jan. 24, 2007, at 7 p.m.






TEMPE, Ariz. – A new statewide Cronkite/Eight Poll found that although a majority (51 percent) of Arizona voters have not yet formed an opinion about who they would like to see become the next president of the United States, three United States senators were named most often as the early favorites. Sen. John McCain was named by 14 percent of all registered voters, Sen. Barack Obama was identified by 10 percent of all voters and Sen. Hillary Clinton was preferred by 9 percent of all registered voters.

The poll also asked registered Republicans who they would vote for in a trial run matching a so-called “straw poll” taken at a Maricopa County Republican Party organizational meeting earlier this month. The “straw poll” showed California Rep. Duncan Hunter leading with McCain a distant fourth. In the Cronkite/Eight Poll, a majority of Republicans (54 percent) chose McCain, 14 percent favored former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 9 percent chose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and 2 percent named Hunter. Twenty-one percent had no opinion.

When questioned about front-runners for their party, Democrats in Arizona were fairly evenly divided between Obama and Clinton, who received 29 percent and 23 percent of the vote, respectively. Former Sen. John Edwards and former Vice President Al Gore trailed with 15 percent and 12 percent of the vote, respectively. Twenty-one percent said they were undecided.

According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “While there may be challenges to Sen. McCain from some party activists, it is clear that a strong majority of Republicans in Arizona will support him for president if he runs in 2008. Obama's strong showing among Arizona voters probably is due to the large amount of recent publicity and the fact that he is positioning himself as a “centrist” or neo-populist candidate, which is well received among Arizona Democrats.”

The Cronkite/Eight Poll also found that most Arizonans want the state Legislature to focus on problems of illegal immigration in the next legislative session. When asked to describe in their own words the single most important problem the Legislature should address, 33 percent focused on illegal immigration; 20 percent called for improving the quality of education in Arizona's public schools, including raising teachers salaries; and 5 percent want legislators to work on problems of transportation, including finishing freeways and reducing traffic. A majority of Arizona voters (51 percent) also said they have more confidence in the state's governor, rather than the Legislature (35 percent), to find meaningful solutions to Arizona 's problems.

“Registered voters in Arizona are sending the Legislature a clear message,” Merrill said. “They want something done about illegal immigration, education and transportation. Republicans are a little more concerned with illegal immigration; Democrats a little more with education. While more people said they trust the governor more than the Legislature to do something about problems, many voters told us the issue isn't trust but rather who has the power to get things done. It is obvious that voters understand the governor and the Legislature must work together to find solutions to our most pressing problems.”

There also was strong support among Arizona voters for several state education reform proposals. Ninety-two percent of all registered voters would support legislation to establish a starting salary of $33,000 for teachers; 67 percent support requiring students to stay in school until they are 18; and 64 percent support raising the high-school math requirement from two to four years. Support for these proposals was found among all demographic and political groups but was especially supported by younger voters.

Attitudes were evenly divided over whether children who are born in the United States to parents who are illegal immigrants should pay in-state or out-of-state tuition when attending the state's community colleges and universities. Forty-three percent said they should be allowed to pay in-state tuition, while 45 percent felt they should pay the more costly out-of-state tuition.

The poll also found divided opinions as to whether the state's Kids Care Program should be extended to provide low-cost medical insurance to children whose parents make less than $60,000 per year (up from $40,000 per year). Forty-eight percent supported extending the program, 41 percent were opposed and 11 percent were undecided.

Finally, a majority of Arizonans (52 percent) were opposed to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq . Thirty-nine percent supported the plan and 9 percent had no opinion. Republicans, older voters and men were most likely to support Bush's planned deployment of approximately 20,000 additional troops to Iraq .

The statewide telephone poll of 600 voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET-TV. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. Fifty-nine percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County , 17 percent in Pima County and 24 percent in the less populated counties. The sample was 40 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 26 percent Libertarians or Independents. Forty-seven percent of the voters interviewed were men and 53 percent women.

Question wording

Next year we will elect a new president. Is there a candidate you would like to see become the next president of the United States ? If so, who? (top 10 responses are listed below )

  Total* Rep* Dem* Ind*
McCain 28% 38% 17% 30%
Obama 20 14 22 24
Clinton 18 5 34 16
Edwards 8 4 13 5
Giuliani 5 10 1 4
Romney 4 7 0 4
Kerry 3 4 2 2
Rice 2 4 0 0
Gingrich 2 5 0 0
Powell 1 2 0 0

*Numbers are for those with an opinion. Fifty-one percent offered no opinion.

ASK REPUBLICANS : If the Republican primary for president in Arizona comes down to a choice between California Congressman Duncan Hunter, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or Senator John McCain, who would you probably vote for?

McCain 54%
Gingrich 14
Romney 9
Hunter 2
No opinion 21

ASK DEMOCRATS : If the Democratic primary for president in Arizona comes down to a choice between Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama, former vice-president Al Gore or former Senator John Edwards, who would you probably vote for?

Obama 29%
Clinton 23
Edwards 15
Gore 12
No opinion 21

In your opinion, is there ONE issue or problem you would like to see the Arizona legislature try to do something about IN 2007? IF YES: What issue or problem would you most like to see the legislature do something about?

  Total Rep Dem Ind
Illegal immigration 33% 42% 25% 30%
Education, quality, teachers salaries 20 16 27 17
Transportation, highways, traffic, public 5 5 5 2
Health care, low cost insurance 3 2 4 4
Cut taxes 2 2 2 1
Water conservation 1 2 1 1
Air pollution 1 0 2 3
Other one or two mentions 15 9 14 16
No opinion 20 21 20 26


In general, who do you trust more to come up with meaningful solutions to the problems facing Arizona ?

The governor 51%
The state Legislature 35
No opinion 14

Would you support or oppose a law that would require students to stay in school until they are 18 years of age instead of the current 16 years of age?

Support 67%
Oppose 27
No opinion 6

Currently, students in high school are required to take two years of math. Would you support or oppose requiring students in high school to take four years of math instead of two years?

Support 64%
Oppose 31
No opinion 5


Currently, first year teachers in public schools in Arizona are paid a minimum of $30,000. Would you support or oppose raising the starting salary of teachers from $30,000 to $33,000?

Support 92%
Oppose 6
No opinion 2

A state program called Kids Care, provides health insurance for children in families that make up to $40,000 per year for a small fee. Would you support or oppose extending the Kid's Care program to families that make up to $60,000?

Support 48%
Oppose 41
No opinion 11

In-state students pay less to attend community colleges and the state's universities than out-of-state students. Do you believe students who were born in the U.S. but whose parents are in the country illegally should pay in-state or out-of-state tuition?

Pay in-state tuition 43%
Pay out-of-state tuition 45
No opinion 12


Turning to the national level, President Bush has proposed sending about 22,000 additional troops to Iraq primarily to try to cut down the violence in and around Baghdad . Do you support or oppose the plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq ?

Oppose 52%
Support 39
No opinion 9