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Cronkite-Eight Poll

ARIZONA VOTERS SET FOR 2008 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

• Republican primary is too close to call
• Clinton leads Democratic hopefuls
• Candidates positions on the war in Iraq, illegal immigration matter most to voters ALSO • Voters want more pressure put on employers to verify their workers are legal
• Voters support Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s hotline

TEMPE, Ariz. – According to new statewide Cronkite/Eight Poll, there is no clear front-runner emerging among Republican presidential candidates in Arizona. Among Republicans who are registered to vote in Arizona, 24 percent said they would vote for Sen. John McCain, 19 percent chose former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, 18 percent said they would vote for former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, 17 percent favored former Sen. Fred Thompson and 10 percent preferred former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Twelve percent of Republican voters in Arizona were undecided.

Because McCain is from Arizona, Republican voters who selected other candidates were asked why they did not choose the senator. The most frequent responses were related to positions McCain has taken on various issues. Sixteen percent said that they disagreed with his stance on the issues in general, 13 percent said that they felt he was a “fence rider” or wishy-washy, 12 percent cited his stand on illegal immigration, 9 percent expressed a concern with his age, 8 percent disagreed with his stance on the war in Iraq, 7 percent said that they didn’t like him personally and 5 percent said that he is too far behind in the race to win.

According to Dr. Bruce Merrill, the Cronkite-Eight Poll director, “McCain most likely has a small lead over Giuliani and Romney but the differences we found among the top four candidates are within sampling error, which means that ‘statistically’ all four candidates are about even at this time. It is still early, as the candidates are spending time in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. As McCain turns his attention to Arizona, his position in the polls should strengthen. However, he should keep in mind that ultimately the winner will be determined by the number and the quality of political ads each candidate will run and the strength and commitment of their grass-roots organizations.”

Registered Democrats in Arizona also were asked to choose between a slate of presidential candidates. Among these voters, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton received 28 percent of the vote compared to 17 percent for both Sen. Barack Obama and former Vice President Al Gore. Thirteen percent preferred Sen. John Edwards and 9 percent would support New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

When all registered voters were asked who they would vote for in a number of head-to-head contests, Arizona voters chose McCain over Clinton 48 percent to 36 percent and over Obama 48 percent to 34 percent. In both races, McCain defeats his Democratic rivals largely because of Democratic defections to his candidacy and because of support from independents. In other matchups, while Giuliani defeats Clinton 49 percent to 37 percent, both Romney (43 percent to 41 percent) and Thompson (43 percent to 40 percent) run even with the New York senator. Another head-to-head found Romney (38 percent) and Obama (39 percent) in a dead heat.

The survey also asked voters if there was an issue in this year’s presidential election that they feel strongly enough about that it would determine which candidate they would vote for. Not surprisingly, the war in Iraq (38 percent) and illegal immigration (26 percent) most concerned voters.

Arizona voters also were asked if there was a candidate running for president who they felt best shared their own values. Clinton received the most mentions (13 percent) followed by McCain and Obama (7 percent), Romney (6 percent) and Thompson and Giuliani with 3 percent.

The poll also found that 69 percent of all registered voters in Arizona support policies being supported by President Bush to put more responsibility on employers to ensure that their employees are in the country legally. Support also was found for the hotline Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set up in Maricopa County to make it easier for people to report people who are believed to be in the country illegally. Even though the question pointed out that some people feel the hotline will encourage racial profiling, 53 percent supported the hotline, 35 percent were opposed.

The statewide telephone poll of 738 voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET-TV Aug. 23 – 26, 2007. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. The sampling error when generalizing only to Republicans is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The sampling error for the sub-sample of Democrats is plus or minus 4.9 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, 35 percent Democrat and 25 percent Independents. Forty-eight percent of the voters interviewed were males and 52 percent females.

Question wording:

1. As you know, we will elect a new president in 2008. Is there an issue that you feel so strongly about that it would affect who you would vote for?

yes 70%
no 30%


2. IF YES: What issue? (The numbers that follow are the percent of those mentioning an issue)

war in Iraq 38%
illegal immigration 26%
health care 7%
abortion 5%
the economy 4%
education 2%

 

3. Among all the candidates regardless of party, is there a candidate that best shares your values more than the others?

no 53%
yes 47%

 

4. IF YES: Which candidate shares your values? (The numbers that follow are the percent of all registered voters)

Hillary Clinton 13%
John McCain 7%
Barack Obama 7%
Mitt Romney 6%
Rudy Giuliani 3%
Fred Thompson 3%

 

5. ASKED ONLY OF REPUBLICANS: If the Republican primary for president in Arizona comes down to a choice between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani , former Sen. Fred Thompson or Sen. .John McCain, who would you probably vote for?

John McCain 24%
Mitt Romney 19%
Rudy Giuliani 18%
Fred Thompson 17%
Newt Gingrich 10%
undecided 12%

 

6. IF DID NOT SELECT JOHN MCCAIN: I notice that you are not supporting Sen. McCain from Arizona. Is there a particular reason why you would not vote for him? The top percentages for the reasons given were:

don’t like his positions on issues 16%
too wishy-washy/rides the fence 13%
his stance on immigration 12%
his age 9%
his position on Iraq 8%
don’t like him personally 7%
he is too far back in the pack to win 5%

 

7. ASKED ONLY OF DEMOCRATS: If the Democratic primary for president in Arizona comes down to a choice between Sen. Hillary Clinton , Sen. Barack Obama , former Vice President Al Gore, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson or Sen. John Edwards, who would you probably vote for?

Hillary Clinton 28%
Barack Obama 17%
Al Gore 17%
John Edwards 13%
Bill Richardson 9%
undecided 16%

 

8. If the election for President in 2008 ends up being a race between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Hillary Clinton, who would you probably vote for?

John McCain 48%
Hillary Clinton 36%
neither 10%
undecided 6%

 

9. If the election comes down to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Sen. Hillary Clinton, who would you vote for?

Rudy Giuliani 49%
Hillary Clinton 37%
neither 7%
undecided 7%

 

10. If the election is between former Sen. Fred Thompson and Sen. Hillary Clinton, who would you probably vote for?

Fred Thompson 43%
Hillary Clinton 40%
neither 7%
undecided 10%

 

11. If the election is a race between former Gov. Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton, who would you probably vote for?

Mitt Romney 43%
Hillary Clinton 41%
neither 7%
undecided 9%

 

12. If the election for President in 2008 ends up being a race between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama , who would you probably vote for?

John McCain 48%
Barack Obama 34%
neither 9%
undecided 9%

 

13. If the election ends up between former Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. Barack Obama, who would you probably vote for?

Barack Obama 39%
Mitt Romney 38%
neither 8%
undecided 15%

 

14. Now, to change directions for a minute, the Bush administration will soon put into effect new rules that will require business owners to verify that current and prospective employees are legal residents by sending their Social Security numbers to the federal government for verification. If the government notifies an employer that a Social Security number is not valid, the business owner would have to fire the employee within 90 days. The new rules also increase the fine for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants to $10,000. Do you support or oppose these new rules?

support 69%
oppose 21%
undecided 10%

 

15. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set up a hotline to make it easier for members of the public to report people who are in the country illegally. Critics of the hotline say it will result in racial profiling. Do you support or oppose the hot line?

support 53%
oppose 35%
undecided 12%