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Cronkite-Eight Poll

Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at (602) 618-1320
or Dr. Tara Blanc at (602) 524-6392

EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 P.M. Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Presidential race in Arizona a toss-up

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TEMPE, Ariz. ––Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “The race in Arizona is very close. Supporters of both candidates are highly committed to their candidates, with 94 percent of Obama’s supporters and 93 percent of McCain’s supporters indicating that they are firmly committed and won’t change their mind before Election Day. In addition, the undecided vote is very low, which means that there are few people remaining to be persuaded during the last week of the campaign. Obama has been closing the gap by attracting independents and women to his campaign. McCain does well among conservative Democrats and evangelicals. Still, a week is a long time in a political campaign and anything can happen. Who wins will be determined by which candidate gets their supporters out to the polls on Election Day.”

The statewide poll also found that a majority (62 percent) of all registered voters believes that Obama will win the presidency next Tuesday, while 20 percent think McCain will win. Thirty-eight percent of the Republicans in the state and 34 percent of those supporting McCain believe the Illinois senator will win. The poll also found that, by a two-to-one margin (46 percent to 22 percent), voters believe that McCain is running a more negative campaign than Obama.

The poll also found that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio leads Democratic challenger Dan Saban 56 percent to 35 percent. In the race for Maricopa County Attorney, Republican incumbent Andrew Thomas received 42 percent of the vote, Democratic challenger Tim Nelson 35 percent, Libertarian candidate Michael Kielsky, 2 percent and 21 percent were still undecided. With the sampling error for the Maricopa County sample of 574 registered voters at plus or minus 4 percent, the race for county attorney is a statistical dead heat.

The new poll also found that Proposition 105, which would require a majority of all registered voters rather than just a majority of those voting to pass tax or spending measures, was trailing with 27 percent in favor of the measure, 51 percent against it and 22 percent undecided. The poll also found that three-fourths (75 percent) of the registered voters in Arizona said they have been affected a great deal (36 percent) or somewhat (39 percent) by the recent financial crisis. Twenty-five percent said the crisis has not affected them.

The statewide telephone poll of 1,019 registered voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET. The statewide sample for this Cronkite/Eight poll was 37 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 29 percent Independent. Fifty-eight percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 17 percent in Pima County and 25 percent in Arizona’s other counties. Forty-seven percent of the voters interviewed are men and 53 percent women. The Maricopa County sample was 43 percent Republican, 33 percent Democrat and 24 percent Independent, with 49 percent men and 51 percent women.

Question wording:

First, we would like to know who you are supporting in the presidential election this year. Are you supporting Republican John McCain, Democrat Barack Obama, Libertarian Robert Barr, Independent Ralph Nader or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney?

McCain 46%
Obama 44%
Barr *
Nader *
McKinney *
undecided/not sure 9%
*less than one percent

Would you say your support for McCain is very strong or is there a chance you could change your mind and support someone else before election day?

very strong 93%
could change mind 7%

Would you say your support for Obama is very strong or is there a chance you could change your mind and support someone else before election day?

very strong 94%
could change mind 6%

Regardless of who you are voting for, who do you think will win the presidency, McCain or Obama?

Obama 62%
McCain 20%
don’t know/no opinion 18%

Again, regardless of who you are supporting, who do you feel is running the more negative campaign, McCain or Obama?

McCain 46%
Obama 22%
both 22%
not sure/no opinion 10%

Proposition 105 would amend the Arizona Constitution so that ballot initiatives that raise taxes or fees or mandate any type of spending would have to be approved by a majority of the state’s registered voters, rather than just a majority of those who actually vote. Will you vote for or against this proposition?

for 27%
against 51%
not sure/no opinion 22%

How much would you say the financial crisis and downturn in the economy has affected your family?

a great deal 36%
somewhat 39%
not much 25%


Who are you supporting as Maricopa County Sheriff in the upcoming election – Republican Joe Arpaio, Democrat Dan Saban or Libertarian Chris Will?

Arpaio 56%
Saban 35%
Will 1%
not sure/no opinion 8%

Who are you supporting as Maricopa County Attorney in the upcoming election – Republican Andrew Thomas, Democrat Tim Nelson or Libertarian Michael Kielsky?

Thomas 42%
Nelson 35%
Kielsky 2%
not sure/no opinion 21%

The Cronkite/Eight Poll results are located on the Eight Web site at www.azpbs.org. and will be presented on the Horizon Program on KAET/EIGHT at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 28.

Dr. Bruce Merrill, poll director, and Dr. Tara Blanc, associate poll director, will be available at the Walter Cronkite School election night to discuss the election results.