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Cronkite-Eight Poll

Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at 602-618-1320
EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 P.M. April. 29, 2008

Arizonans will vote for McCain but see a potentially tight race in November

Big anti-Clinton vote found in Arizona

Contentious primary doesnít appear to be hurting the Democrats

Despite public squabble, Arpaio and Gordon receive high marks

Napolitano receives high job ratings, Bush rated low

More Arizona voters say they will vote for Sen. John McCain than either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton, according to a new Cronkite/Eight poll conducted statewide April 24-27 among 577 registered voters. Arizonans favored McCain over Obama 47 percent to 38 percent and favored McCain over Clinton 53 percent to 37 percent. Voters also believe that the Arizona senator can win the White House in November.

Although a Cronkite/Eight poll in February found that voters believed that Obama likely would beat McCain in November, the new poll found that voters now think that McCain would defeat Obama 44 percent to 34 percent in the presidential election. As in the February poll, the voters in the current poll said they think McCain would easily win against Clinton in November (59 percent to 26 percent and 53 percent to 30 percent, respectively).

This poll also asked voters why they were supporting a particular candidate. McCain supporters preferred him primarily because they donít want either Democratic candidate in the White House. Twenty-two percent said they were voting against Obama and 45 percent said they were voting against Clinton. McCain also garners votes against both Democratic candidates because he is a Republican, because of his record in the Senate and because of his previous military experience. When McCain is paired against Clinton, a majority of McCainís votes come from people who either say they personally dislike Hillary Clinton or who donít like Bill Clinton and donít want to see another Clinton in the White House (8 percent).

Obama wins votes primarily because he is the Democratic candidate (37 percent). Others support Obama because they donít like McCain, because they like Obamaís message of hope and change and because he supports various liberal or progressive social policies such as health care and tax reform. Clintonís primary support comes from those who support whoever the Democratic nominee is (31 percent) and those who want a change from current Bush policies, especially the war in Iraq (25 percent). Others say she has the experience to be president or that they are opposed to McCain.

According to Dr. Bruce Merrill, who conducted the survey, ďSen. McCain will win in his home state this November regardless of who the Democrats nominate. The survey also shows that in Arizona, at this time, Barack Obama runs stronger against McCain than Hillary Clinton. There appears to be two reasons for Obamaís stronger showing. First, those who identify themselves as political independents divide their vote almost equally between Obama and McCain. Many independents are strongly opposed to the war in Iraq and they tend to oppose the senator on that issue. The second reason Obama does better than Clinton is that Arizonans simply have a strong dislike for Hillary Clinton even though her husband won the state when he ran for reelection.Ē

When Democrats were asked who they wanted to win the Democratic nomination, they were almost evenly divided. Forty-five percent preferred Obama while 39 percent favored Clinton. The poll also found that, so far, the hotly contested Democratic primary doesnít seem to have seriously divided the party. Supporters of each candidate were asked if they would support the other candidate if their candidate is not selected as the Democratic nominee. If Clinton becomes the nominee, 68 percent of those who prefer Obama would definitely (55 percent) or probably (13 percent) support Clinton, while 22 percent say they would probably (12 percent) or definitely (10 percent) vote for McCain. If Obama gets the nomination, 62 percent of Clintonís supporters will definitely (51 percent) or probably (11 percent) vote for Obama while 17 percent say they will probably (9 percent) or definitely (8 percent) vote for McCain.

The poll also found that while Arizonans rate President George Bush slightly higher than the national average (Arizonans give Bush a 34 percent approval rating versus a national approval rate of 28 percent), a majority (61 percent) give him negative ratings for the job he is doing as president. In comparison, a number of state and county officials received positive ratings for the jobs they were doing. In the statewide sample, 76 percent of all registered voters gave Gov. Janet Napolitano excellent (27 percent) or good (49 percent) marks for the job she doing; 17 percent gave her poor ratings.

The poll also asked residents of Maricopa County to rate how two high-profile Maricopa County officials and the Mayor of Phoenix were performing their jobs. Fifty-nine percent approved of the job that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is doing, while 36 percent disapprove. Forty percent approve of the job County Attorney Andrew Thomas is doing, while 17 percent disapprove. Forty-two percent approve of the job being done by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, while 22 percent disapprove. Because a large percentage of voters were unfamiliar with Thomas and Gordon (36 percent were unfamiliar with Gordon and 43 percent were unfamiliar with Thomas, while only five percent were unfamiliar with Arpaio), poll director Merrill noted that the more accurate way to compare approval ratings for these three officials is to look at what those with an opinion think. Of those with an opinion, 69 percent gave favorable ratings to Thomas, 62 rated Arpaio favorably and 66 percent liked the job Gordon is doing.

The telephone poll of 577 Arizona registered voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET-TV.The statewide sample has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percent, the sampling error for Maricopa County is plus or minus 5.3 percent and the sampling error for Democrats only is plus or minus 6.9 percent. The sample was 40 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 26 percent Independents. Fifty-eight percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 18 percent in Pima County and 24 percent in the less populated counties. Forty-seven percent of the voters interviewed were males and 53 percent females. The poll was conducted April 24 - 27 at the studios of KAET-TV.

Question wording and results:

1. First, we would like to know who you would probably vote for president this November. If John McCain runs against Barack Obama, would you probably vote for McCain or Obama?

McCain 47%
Obama 38%
undecided/not sure 15%


2. IF McCAIN: Why do you support McCain rather than Obama? (be specific)

% Responses
22 Don’t want Obama to be president
20 Always support the Republican candidate, McCain is Republican
15 McCain’s experience in politics, experience in general
9 Like his issues, policies
9 Military man, military experience
8 His positions on helping the economy, tax policies
6 Is a known quantity, you know what you are getting
5 His conservative values, he’s a conservative
3 Trust him, honest, honorable person
3 His age and maturity


3. IF OBAMA: Why do you support Obama rather than McCain? (be specific)

% Responses
37 He’s a Democrat, I support Democrats
16 Message of hope and change for the future, sees bigger picture
14 Dislike or distrust McCain, McCain’s too conservative
13 Liberal or progressive on social issues
8 Will break with Bush policies
5 Will help the economy
4 Younger, more vigorous man
3 Smarter, better candidate, better choice


4. Regardless of who you are supporting, who do you think would actually win the presidency in November, McCain or Obama?

McCain 44%
Obama 34%
don’t know/no opinion 22%


5. If McCain ends up running against Hillary Clinton, would you probably vote for McCain or Clinton?

McCain 53%
Clinton 37%
undecided/not sure 10%


6. IF McCAIN: Why do you support McCain rather than Clinton? (be specific)

% Responses
45 Don’t want or dislike Hillary Clinton
18 He’s the Republican candidate
8 Disliked Bill Clinton, don’t want more Clinton’s in White House
7 His experience, record in politics
5 Like his conservative views, values
5 Trust McCain, honorable person, strong
4 Tax policies
3 His military background
3 Will help the economy
2 Don’t want a female president


7. IF CLINTON: Why would you vote for Clinton rather than McCain? (be specific)

% Responses
31 Vote Democratic, she’s a Democrat
15 Will change Bush policies, for the working person
10 Against the war
10 Like her issues, policies, more liberal or progressive
8 Experience
5 Best, most qualified candidate, bright
5 She will help the economy
5 Against McCain
5 Need a female president
6 Other mentions


8. Who do you think would win a McCain Ė Clinton race in November?

McCain 53%
Clinton 30%
don’t know/no opinion 17%


9.IF DEMOCRAT: Who would you like to see become the Democratic nominee in November?

Obama 45%
Clinton 39%
undecided/not sure 16%

10. IF OBAMA: If Clinton becomes the nominee rather than Obama, would you

definitely vote for Clinton 55%
probably vote for Clinton 13%
probably vote for McCain 12%
definitely vote for McCain 10%
don’t know/no opinion 10%


11. IF CLINTON: If Obama becomes the nominee rather than Clinton, would you

definitely vote for Obama 51%
probably vote for Obama 11%
probably vote for McCain 9%

definitely vote for McCain

don’t know/no opinion 21%


12. Now we would like to ask you to rate the overall job performance of several elected officials. If you donít know who they are or donít feel you know enough about them to rate the job they are doing, just tell me and Iíll go on to the next person. Letís start with President George Bush. Would you rate the job he is doing as excellent, good, poor or very poor?


good 31%
poor 22%

very poor

don’t know/no opinion 5%


13. How about Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano? Would you rate the job she is doing as excellent, good, poor or very poor?


good 49%
poor 13%

very poor

don’t know/no opinion 7%

Data for question 14 previously posted on April 29 was corrected on April 30.

14. Next is Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Would your rate the job he is doing as excellent, good, poor or very poor?

  % all respondents % of those with an opinion
excellent 4% 7%
good 36% 63% 62%
poor 13% 22% 23%
very poor 4% 8%
don’t know/no opinion 43% -----

Data for question 15 previously posted on April 29 was corrected on April 30.

15. What about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Would you rate the job he is doing as excellent, good, poor or very poor?

  % all respondents % of those with an opinion
excellent 26% 32% 27%
good 33% 37% 35%
poor 21% 17% 22%
very poor 15% 14% 16%
don’t know/no opinion 5% -----

Data for question 16 previously posted on April 29 was corrected on April 30.

16. Finally, how would you rate the job Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is doing? Would you rate the job he is doing as excellent, good, poor or very poor?

  % all respondents % of those with an opinion
excellent 6% 10%
good 36% 55% 56%
poor 16% 25%
very poor 6% 10%
don’t know/no opinion 36% -----