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Cronkite-Eight Poll

FOR INFORMATION:
Contact Dr. Bruce Merrill at (602) 618-1320 or

Dr. Tara Blanc at (602) 524-6392 EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 P.M. Tuesday, September 30, 2008

• Race tightening but McCain maintains lead

• Arizonans divided on Palin’s ability to take over as president


Voters support employer sanction law and defining marriage as between one man and one woman; oppose federal bailout.

TEMPE, Ariz. ––Republican John McCain maintains a 7-percent lead (45 percent to 38 percent) over Democrat Barack Obama in Arizona, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll conducted Sept. 25-28. The statewide poll of 976 registered voters also found that Independent candidate Ralph Nader received 1 percent and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney each received less than 1 percent of the vote. Sixteen percent were undecided. Last month, the poll found that McCain led by 10 percent with 40 percent of the vote, while Obama drew 30 percent, Nader drew 2 percent, Barr had 1 percent and 27 percent undecided.

Supporters of the two major-party candidates are highly polarized, as 81 percent of McCain’s supporters and 86 percent of Obama’s supporters said that they feel very strongly about their choice. The Cronkite/Eight Poll also found that the two candidates present clear choices in this election. Most of McCain’s supporters said they are voting for him because of his qualifications and experience in government (33 percent), because they are opposed to Obama (16 percent) and because of McCain’s military experience (8 percent). Obama’s supporters mostly want change in Washington (28 percent), say they don’t want McCain (8 percent) and say they share Obama’s values and policies (8 percent).

According to the poll, 50 percent of registered voters feel that McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate helps him. Thirty-four percent felt she hurts McCain and 16 percent didn’t have an opinion. Arizonans were evenly divided on whether Palin could be an effective president if something happened to McCain. Forty-eight percent said they were confident in her abilities, and 46 percent were not very confident. Regarding Obama’s choice of Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate, 43 percent said the choice helps him, 30 percent said it hurts Obama and 27 had no opinion. Seventy percent of those interviewed had confidence in Biden’s ability to take over from Obama, while 24 percent were not very confident.

According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “McCain still leads in Arizona but the race has tightened during the past month. At one time, it looked like Arizona was solidly Republican, but now has become a state in which the Democrats may choose to actively campaign. Most importantly, the undecided vote is now down to 15 percent. The electorate is highly polarized and there probably won’t be much movement by Republicans and Democrats. McCain maintains his lead in Arizona mainly because of the support of evangelicals and conservative Democrats. As always, who turns out to vote will determine who wins Arizona. The election in Arizona may be decided by whether young people and Hispanics turn out to vote and who the independent voters, who are a growing and important segment of the electorate, decide to support.”

In other areas, the Cronkite/Eight poll found that Arizonans opposed the proposed Congressional bailout of the banks and the financial industry 39 percent to 31 percent with 30 percent undecided. The proposal to change the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman was supported by a narrow margin. Forty-nine percent favored the change, 42 percent were opposed and 9 percent were undecided. The proposed employer sanction proposition was strongly supported by 63 percent of the voters, while 19 percent were opposed and 18 said they were undecided.

The statewide telephone poll of 976 registered 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 3.1 percentage points. The sample was 38 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 27 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 are women.

Cronkite/Eight Poll results are located on the Eight Web site at www.azpbs.org.

Question wording: First, we would like to know who you probably will vote for in the November presidential election. Will you probably vote for Republican John McCain, Democrat Barack Obama, Libertarian Robert Barr, Independent Ralph Nader or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney?

McCain 45%
Obama 38%
Nader 1%
Barr *%
*less than one percent
McKinney *%
*less than one percent
Undecided 15%


ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR MCCAIN.
Why are you voting for John McCain rather than Barack Obama? (be specific)

% responses Response
33 Has more experience/better qualified to be president
16 Don’t want Obama to be president 8 McCain’s military experience, stronger in military affairs
8 He’s a conservative, position on moral issues, pro-life
7 Always vote Republican
6 Share his values, ideas, policies
4 He’s the better candidate, will be a better president
2 Very patriotic, for America
2 Liked choice of Palin
2 Is a strong leader
2 Like his tax policy
1 Maverick
1 Like his position on the economy
1 Like position on gun control
1 Will cut spending
1 Lesser of two evils
5 Other single mentions
(There were 398 mentions)


ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR MCCAIN:
Would you say you feel very strongly about your support for John McCain or not very strongly?

Very strongly 81%
Not very strongly 17%
Don’t know/no opinion 2%


ASK ONLY IF VOING FOR MCCAIN:
How much of a factor in your decision to vote for McCain was his choice of Sara Palin to be his vice-president?

Was a major factor 16%
Somewhat of a factor or 24
Not really a factor 59
Don’t know/no opinion 1


ASKED OF EVERYONE:
Do you think John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate will help or hurt him in terms of winning this election?

Help 50%
Hurt 34
Don’t know/no opinion 16



ASKED OF EVERYONE:
If John McCain is elected and something happened to him in the first few weeks of his presidency, how much confidence would you have in Sarah Palin that she could take over and be an effective president? Would you say you are very confident, generally confident or not very confident Palin would be an effective president?

Very confident 24%
Generally confident 24
Not very confident 46
Don’t know/no opinion 6


ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR OBAMA:
Why are you voting for Barack Obama rather than John McCain? (be specific)

% responses Response
28 Best chance for change, against Bush, Republican policies
8 Don’t want McCain to be president
8 Share his policies, ideas, issues
7 Always vote Democrat
5 Like his economic policies
5 Opposed to war in Iraq
5 Better candidate, will be better president
5 More intelligent, reasoned approach
5 Is younger, more vigorous
4 Better people skills, better communicator
3 Trust him more
3 Pro-choice, pro-women’s rights
1 Like position on health care
1 Changed because McCain picked Palin
1 Obama is more qualified to be president
2 Like Obama’s approach to foreign affairs
2 Honest person
1 Like position on illegal immigration
1 Changed to Obama after saw debate
1 Like his policy on taxes
4 Other single mentions
(There were 405 mentions)


ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR OBAMA:
Would you say you feel very strongly about your support for Barack Obama or not very strongly?

Very strongly 86%
Not very strongly 12
Don’t know/no opinion 2


ASK ONLY IF VOTING FOR OBAMA:
How much of a factor in your decision to vote for Barack Obama was his choice of Joe Biden as his vice-president?

Major factor 12%
Somewhat of a factor 26
Not really a factor 61
Don’t know/no opinion 1


ASKED OF EVERYONE:
Do you think Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate will help or hurt him in terms of winning this election?

Help 43%
Hurt 30
Don’t know/no opinion 27



ASKED OF EVERYONE:
If Barack Obama is elected and something happened to him in the first few weeks of his presidency, how much confidence would you have in Joe Biden that he could take over and be an effective president? Would you say you are very confident, generally confident, or not very confident Biden would be an effective president?

Very confident 35%
Generally confident 35
Not very confident 24
Don’t know/no opinion 6



Which of the two teams running for president––Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin––do you think has the best chance to bring about real change in Washington?

Obama/Biden 43%
McCain/Palin 34
neither of these teams 15
Don’t know/no opinion 8



Which of the two teams running for president––Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin––do you think is best equipped to address the problems we currently face in our economy?

McCain/Palin 43%
Obama/Biden 38
neither of these teams 11
Don’t know/no opinion 8



The Bush Administration is proposing a 700-billion-dollar federal bank and mortgage bailout. Would you support or oppose such a move?

Support 31%
Oppose 39
Don’t know/no opinion 30



Proposition 102, which will appear on the November ballot, would amend the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman while maintaining the current statutory law of the State of Arizona, which prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex. Will you vote for or against this proposition?

Vote for it 49%
Vote against it 42
Don’t know/no opinion 9


Proposition 202, which will appear on the November ballot, would modify the laws regarding employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens, suspend or revoke the licenses of businesses that employ illegal aliens, add penalties for employers who fail to properly report cash wages, increase penalties for identity theft related to employment, and establish a presumption that favors an employer who verifies employee eligibility under federal law. Will you vote for or against this proposition?

Vote for it 63%
Vote against it 19
Don’t know/no opinion 18