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Cronkite-Eight Poll

FOR INFORMATION:
Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at (480) 965-7051
EMBARGOED UNTIL September 27, 2007, at 7 p.m.

THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY RACE
• Republican primary still up for grabs
• Clinton widens lead among Democratic primary voters
• Arizona voters feel most positive about Obama; most negative about Clinton

ALSO
• Arizona voters divided about withdrawing troops from Iraq
• Voters support statewide ban on text messaging while driving

TEMPE, Ariz. – According to a new statewide Cronkite/Eight Poll, there is still no clear front-runner in the Republican presidential primary in Arizona. Twenty-seven percent of registered Republicans said they are supporting Senator John McCain, 22 percent like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 17 percent chose former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, 17 percent favored former Senator Fred Thompson and 8 percent preferred former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Nine percent were undecided. The poll was conducted Sept. 20-23, 2007.

In the Democratic primary, Senator Hillary Clinton has increased her lead from 28 percent support in August to 38 percent in the current poll. Senator Barack Obama and former Vice President Al Gore each received 18 percent of the vote, 10 percent preferred Senator John Edwards and 5 percent supported New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Eleven percent were undecided.

The survey also used a “feeling thermometer” to determine how much voters trusted and considered the various presidential candidates genuine in terms of what they are saying to the American people. When rated on a scale of very positive to very negative, 39 percent of all registered voters said their impression of Hillary Clinton was very or generally positive, but 55 percent said their impression of her was negative. Barack Obama had the highest percentage of favorable opinions, 49 percent. Thirty-five percent said they had negative opinions about Obama. Senator John McCain’s image was about evenly split between those with positive and negative impressions. Forty-seven percent said their overall image of McCain was positive, compared to 43 percent who said they had negative feelings about the Senator. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s overall image was slightly negative in Arizona. Thirty-three percent had positive opinions; 43 percent said their feelings were negative.

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 (9 percent), Romney and Thompson (6%) and Giuliani with 5 percent. On the other hand, voters were also asked if there was one candidate who they would never support. Over one-third (37%) of those interviewed named Hillary Clinton. McCain, with 8 percent, was a distant second. As one might expect, Clinton’s image is highly related to party affiliation. While 8 percent of the Democrats said they would never vote for her, 63 percent of the Republicans said they would never support her regardless of who she ran against. One-third of Independents in Arizona said they would never vote for her.

According to Dr. Bruce Merrill, who directs the poll, “Senator McCain probably has a slight lead in the Arizona Republican primary race, but he shouldn’t and probably won’t take the state for granted. After the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, I think you’ll see the Senator spend more time in the state and his numbers will improve. On the democratic side, Hillary Clinton appears very strong in Arizona. She is one of the most interesting candidates we’ve seen in Arizona because voters either love her or hate her. She has very high negatives and it will be interesting to see how many democrats who say they don’t like her will still vote for her”.

The new poll also found that the electorate is evenly split on whether a deadline should be set to withdraw troops from Iraq. Fifty percent favored withdrawing the troops, 42 percent were opposed and 8 percent said they were undecided. As expected, republicans were much less supportive than democrats for setting a deadline and withdrawing the troops (28% to 73%). Women were also much more likely than men (58% to 43%) to favor withdrawing the troops.

Finally, the poll found overwhelming support for a statewide ban on text messaging while people are driving. Eighty-seven percent favored a ban, 11 percent were opposed and 2 percent said they didn’t have an opinion.

The statewide telephone poll of 703 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 3.6 percentage points. The sampling error when generalizing only to republicans is plus or minus 5.8 percentage points. The sampling error for the sub-sample of democrats is plus or minus 6.4 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 independents. Forty-eight percent of the voters interviewed were men and 52 percent women.

Question wording:

 1. First, we would like to know how you feel about several Republican candidates who are running for president. We want to know how much you trust them and feel they are genuine in what they say. Let’s start with John McCain. In general, are your overall feelings about him  1. very positive (9%),  2. positive (38%),  3. negative (29%) or 4. very negative (14%)? 5. neutral/d.k./n.o. (23%)

2. How about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney? Are your overall feelings about him 1. very positive (6%),  2. positive (27%),  3. negative (29%) or 4. very negative (14%)?  5. neutral/d.k.  (24%)        

3. And how about former Senator Fred Thompson? Are your overall feelings about him 1. very positive (10%),  2. positive (25%),  3. negative (28%) or 4. very negative (12%)?  5. neutral /d.k. (25%)  

4. What are your overall feelings about former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani? 1. very positive (11%), 2. positive (37%), 3.. negative (28%) or 4. very negative (14%)? 5. neutral/d.k. (10%)

5. We also would like to know how you feel about a few of the Democrats who are running for president. We want to know how much you trust them and feel they are genuine in what they say. Let’s start with Senator Hillary Clinton. In general, are your overall feelings about her 1. very positive (15%),  2. positive (24%), 3. negative (21%) or 4. very negative (34%)?    5. neutral/d.k. (6%)

6. And what are your overall feelings about Barack Obama? 1. very positive (15%),  2. positive (34%),   3. negative (23%) or  4. very negative (12%)?  5. neutral/d.k. (16%)

7. What are your overall feelings about John Edwards? 1. very positive (8%),  2. positive (31%),  3. negative (30%) or 4. very negative (16%)?  5. neutral/d.k. (15%)

8. Are you registered as a  1. Republican,  a  2. Democrat, or as an 3. Independent?

 9.ASK REPUBLICANS ONLY: If the Republican primary for president in Arizona comes down to a choice between 1. former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (17%), 2. former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (8%), 3. former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (22%),  4. former Senator Fred Thompson (17%) or 5. Senator John McCain (27%), who would you robably vote for? 6. d.k./n.o. (9%)

10.ASK DEMOCRATS ONLY: If the Democratic primary for president in Arizona comes down to a race between New York Senator Hillary Clinton (38%), Senator Barack Obama (18%),
3. former Vice President Al Gore (18%), 4. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (5%) or 5. Senator John Edwards (10%), who would you probably vote for?  6. d.k./n.o. (11%)

 ASK EVERYONE THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
11 .Thinking of all the candidates from both parties who are running for president, is there one candidate who best shares your values more than the others? IF YES: Which candidate?

Clinton (13%)  McCain (9%)  Obama (9%)  Romney (6%)  Thompson (6%)  Giuliani (5%)  Edwards (4%)

12. Is there one candidate running for office for whom you would never vote, regardless of who they run against? IF YES: Which candidate?

Clinton (37%) McCain (8%) Romney (5%) Giuliani (5%) Thompson (3%) Obama (3%)

13.As you probably know, General David Patraeus recently reported to the American people how he feels things are going in Iraq. Based on what you have heard, would you 1. support (50%) or 2. oppose (42%) Congress passing legislation that would set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring?   3.d.k./n.o. (8%)

14.Phoenix recently made it illegal to use a cell phone to send text messages while driving. Would you 1. support (87%) or 2. oppose (11%) passing a statewide law that would make illegal to send text messages while driving?  3. d.k./n.o. (2%)