HORIZON . Search Topics Archives Horizon Site   

Cronkite-Eight Poll

Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at 480-965-7051

• Voters support employer sanction law despite concerns about economy, racial profiling
• Arizona voters oppose issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants
• Arpaio’s stance on enforcing immigration laws is supported
• Arizona electorate divided over using local police to enforce immigration laws

• Few voters have settled on a presidential primary candidate
• Arizonans support increased funding for children’s health insurance program

TEMPE, Ariz. –– Voters in Arizona continue to support strong measures to curb illegal immigration, according to a new statewide Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll, conducted Oct. 11-14, 2007, found that 69 percent of all registered voters support penalizing businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants even though one-third (37 percent) of the voters say a recently passed employer sanctions law could have a negative impact on Arizona’s economy and nearly one-half (46 percent) of those polled think the measure will increase racial profiling. In addition, 83 percent of Arizona voters oppose issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The Cronkite/Eight Poll also found that while voters are evenly split over whether local police departments should enforce immigration laws (46 percent support the idea and 50 percent are opposed), a majority of voters support Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tough policies on enforcement of these laws. Sixty-two percent of all registered voters and 72 percent of those with an opinion support what Arpaio is doing. Although support for tougher enforcement of immigration laws was found in all demographic groups, republicans, older voters and social conservatives tended to be stronger in their support of Arpaio than democrats, younger voters and social liberals.

According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “The fact that voters support the employer sanction law even though they believe the law will increase racial profiling and have a dampening effect on the state’s economy shows how strongly people feel about doing something about illegal immigration. Arpaio is seen by many voters as the only person taking a strong stance against illegal immigration. Support for the sheriff was found among voters throughout every county in Arizona. The fact that voters in Arizona are divided over having local police departments enforce immigration laws demonstrates that while people are concerned about illegal immigration, they are equally concerned about having adequate police protection against violent crime. ”

In another issue explored by the Cronkite/Eight Poll, a majority of voters favored increasing funding for the S-Chip program that recently was vetoed by President Bush. Fifty-eight percent of Arizona voters supported expanding health insurance coverage for children. Younger voters, who are more likely to have children democrats and independents were most supportive of the increase in funding.

Finally, the poll also found that the primary races for president may be far from decided at this point. Only 19 percent of registered republicans and 34 percent of registered democrats said they have definitely settled on a candidate to support in next year’s presidential primary elections. Although the sub-samples of those who have made up their minds are too small for statistical generalization, Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson all received the same number of mentions among republicans and Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared to be outdistancing her opponents among democrats.

“This question shows how important the wording of questions is when conducting polls,” Merrill pointed out. “Asking people who they would choose from a list of contenders measures who people are leaning toward supporting but does not measure their level of commitment. Asking people if they have definitely settled on a candidate shows that there still is opportunity for candidates who can put together effective campaigns aimed at increasing their support in Arizona.”

The statewide telephone poll of 677 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 3.8 percentage points. The sampling error when generalizing only to republicans is plus or minus 6 percentage points. The sampling error for the sub-sample of democrats is plus or minus 6.3 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 independents. Forty-eight percent of the voters interviewed were men and 52 percent women.

Question wording and results:

1. First, President Bush recently vetoed the “S-CHIP” bill, which would have increased federal spending on health insurance for children by 35 billion dollars over the next five years. The bill would have been funded by an increase in taxes on cigarettes.  Supporters say the bill would provide insurance for millions of low-income children who currently have no health insurance. Opponents say the bill went too far and would cover children in families that can afford to pay their own health insurance. Do you favor or oppose increasing funding for the “S-CHIP” program?
            Favor                                       58%
            Oppose                                    33%
            Don’t know/no opinion             9%

2. Some states issue driver’s licenses to people residing in this country illegally. Would you favor or oppose issuing driver’s licenses to people who are in Arizona illegally?

            Favor                                       13%
            Oppose                                    83%
            Don’t know/no opinion             4%

3. The Arizona legislature passed an employer sanctions law that penalizes employers when they knowingly hire illegal immigrants. On the first offense, the business license can be suspended for up to 10 days. On the second offense within a certain period, businesses will lose their licenses permanently.  Do you favor or oppose this law?

            Favor                                       69%
            Oppose                                    26%
            Don’t know/no opinion             5%

4. What impact do you think the employer sanction law will have on Arizona’s economy? Do you think it will have a negative impact on the economy, a positive impact, or not much of an impact on the economy?

            Negative impact                      37%
            Positive impact                        16%
            Not much impact                    37%
            Don’t know/no opinion           10%

5. Do you think that the employer sanction law will increase racial and ethnic profiling?

            Yes                                          46%
            No                                           43%
            Don’t know/no opinion           11%

6. Some people in Arizona want local police departments to enforce immigration laws. However, several police chiefs recently spoke out against this idea, saying that because their departments are working with limited resources they need to stay focused on serious crime instead of routine immigration enforcement. Do you think police departments should or should not enforce immigration laws?

            Should enforce                        46%
            Should not enforce                 50%
            Don’t know/no opinion             4%

7. Some people feel that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is too tough in enforcing immigration laws. Others think he is not tough enough.  Do you agree or disagree with Sheriff Arpaio’s tough stance on illegal immigration?

                                                All respondents           Those w/ an opinion
            Agree                                      62%                             72%
            Disagree                                  25%                             28%
            Don’t know/no opinion           13%                            -----

8. ASK REPUBLICANS ONLY: Have you settled on a candidate who you likely will support in the Republican presidential primary election next year?

            Yes                                          19%
            No                                           81%

IF YES: Who will you probably support?

                                                Among those who have decided
            McCain                                   29%
            Romney                                   25%
            Giuliani                                   19%
            Thompson                               17%
            Other                                       10%

9. ASK DEMOCRATS ONLY: Have you settled on a candidate who you likely will support in the Democratic presidential primary election next year?

            Yes                                          34%
            No                                           66%

IF YES: Who will you probably support?

                                                Among those who have decided
            Clinton                                    70%
            Obama                                     18%
            Edwards                                    9%
            Other                                         3%