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Cronkite-Eight Poll

Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at 602-618-1320
EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 P.M. Jan. 22, 2008


TEMPE, Ariz. –– With two weeks to go before Arizona’s presidential primary election, Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton are leading in their respective party races, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. However, the poll, which was conducted among “high efficacy” registered voters in Arizona Jan. 17-20, also showed that about 20 percent of the potential voters (19 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of Democrats) have not yet made up their minds about who they will support.

The poll asked voters in each party if they have decided on a candidate and, if so, who they support. Those who said they were not firm in their choice of candidate were then asked if they were “leaning toward” supporting a particular candidate in the respective primaries. The figures reported here reflect the combination of those who are firm in their decision and those who are “leaning toward” a particular candidate.

In the Republican primary, 41 percent said they are supporting or leaning toward McCain. Another 18 percent support or are leaning toward former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 9 percent support or are leaning toward former Sen. Fred Thompson, 7 percent support or are leaning toward former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani drew 4 percent of the responses and Congressman Ron Paul was mentioned by 2 percent; 19 percent remain undecided.

In the Democratic primary, 45 percent support or are leaning toward Clinton, while 24 percent support or are leaning toward Sen. Barack Obama. Sen. John Edwards drew 9 percent of the responses and Congressman Dennis Kucinich another 1 percent; 21 percent remained undecided.

The Cronkite/Eight poll also asked people why they were supporting the candidate of their choice. People are voting for McCain for six main reasons. First, they like his views and positions he takes on issues. Second, they feel he is an experienced and qualified candidate. Third, they respect his military service. Fourth, he is seen as a man who “says it like it is”. Fifth, he is seen as a person with a great deal of personal integrity and sixth, he is seen as having conservative values. Romney’s supporters like him mainly because he is seen as having genuine conservative values and issue positions. Second, voters like his business and management experience in the private sector. Third, he is seen as “the best of those running” and fourth, he is seen as a man of faith. Huckabee is almost a single dimension candidate, as the overwhelming reason people support him is because he is seen as a conservative Christian.
The main reasons given for supporting Clinton are first, she is seen as an experienced and qualified candidate. Second, voters like the positions she takes on a number of issues including health-care reform. Third, voters said they liked Bill Clinton and they believe having access to the former president will strengthen Hillary Clinton’s presidency. Fourth, she is seen as a strong and tough leader and fifth, a number of supporters are voting for her because she is a woman and they feel the country needs a woman president.

Most of those supporting Obama believe he has a clear vision for America that involves change and unifying the country. He also is seen as a young, dynamic and intelligent person who people trust and believe in. Finally, a number of voters like his issue positions, especially his position on the war in Iraq. Edwards attracts voters who believe he is simply the best candidate and the best candidate for the times we live in. He is also seen as the most electable candidate largely because of his experience in the Senate.

According to Dr. Bruce Merrill, who directs the poll, “Sen. McCain’s successes in New Hampshire and South Carolina have solidified his support in Arizona and he now has a sizeable lead over his closest challenger, Mitt Romney.  Sen. Clinton has consistently led Barack Obama in Arizona and appears to be maintaining her lead over the Illinois senator. However, there are still two weeks to go before the primary and there is a fairly large undecided vote. In addition, polls cannot measure which candidate’s supporters will go to the polls and which will stay home on election day. Nevertheless,
at this time, McCain and Clinton have solid leads in Arizona.”

The information in this poll was collected by telephone from two independent statewide samples of Republican and Democratic “high efficacy” voters. High efficacy voters have voted in at least three of the past six elections. Three hundred and seventy-five Republicans were interviewed and 366 Democrats.  The Republican sample has a sampling error of plus or minus 5.0 percent. The sampling error for the sample of Democrats is plus or minus 5.1 percent. The samples were stratified to be representative of each county in Arizona and each sample was weighted to have one-half of the respondents be women and one-half men.

Question wording and results:

Have you decided on a candidate you will vote for in the upcoming Republican primary?
IF DECIDED: Who will you probably vote for? Why are you supporting (candidate)? UNDECIDED: Are you leaning toward voting for (alternate order names are read) Mitt Romney, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee or Duncan Hunter?

  Will Vote for With leaners
McCain  28% 41%
Romney 10 18 
Huckabee  3 7
Giuliani  4
Paul  2 2
Undecided 52  19
  100%    100


Why voting for McCain

% responses

21 Like his views, positions on issues
16 Experienced/qualified
14 His military background
12 Straight talker/says it like it is
10 His honesty and integrity
7 His conservative and family values
5 He is a strong leader
4 Best choice of those running
4 Just like him
7 Other comments


Why voting for Romney
40 Most conservative/conservative values
18 Business and management background
12 Best candidate of those running
8 Man of faith/LDS
6 Leadership skills/dynamic man
6 Smart/intelligent
10 Other comments

Why voting for Huckabee
65 Christian views/values/minister
15 Like views/tax reform
10 Honest
5 Fresh face
5 Other comments

  Will vote for With leaners
Clinton 30% 45%
Obama 17% 24
Edwards 5 9
Kucinich 1 1
Undecided 47 21
  100% 100%

Why voting for Clinton
% responses  
38 Her experience/qualified
13 Like her views/positions on issues
12 Like Bill Clinton/Bill will be a help to her
9 Need a woman to be president
9 Strong, dynamic leader
5 Will do a good job as president
4 Trust her/honest president
4 Best chance to win
6 Other comments

Why voting for Obama
% responses  
47 His vision for change, unifying America
10 Believe in him/like him
10 Smart, intelligent man
10 Like his issues, positions on issues
9 Honest, has a lot of integrity
7 Against Hillary
4 Most electable
3 Says it like it is

Why voting for Edwards
% responses  
40 Right candidate for the times
20 Most electable
10 Experienced and qualified
10 Family man/family values
10 Conservative
10 Other comments