EMBARGOED UNTIL 7 P.M. Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dr. Bruce Merrill at 602-618-1320

• Most voters are happy with their health insurance but still support health care reform

• Most don’t understand the public option; a majority of those who understand the issue
   support it.

• Gov. Brewer receives mixed job performance ratings

• Proposed one percent sales tax losing public support

• Support for President Obama in Arizona is dropping

• A majority of Arizona voters support sending additional troops to Afghanistan

TEMPE, Ariz. –– Although a majority of Arizona voters describe themselves as very (45 percent) or generally (33 percent) satisfied with the health insurance they have, most (81 percent) believe that some type of health care reform is needed, according to a new statewide Cronkite/Eight poll. The poll, conducted Sept. 24-27, found that 50 percent of Arizona voters want major changes, 31 percent think minor changes are needed, 12 percent believe no changes are needed and 7 percent have no opinion on the topic.

When asked if they support or oppose a public option in a health reform bill, 25 percent said they support a public option, 18 percent were opposed to a public option and 57 percent said they didn’t understand enough about public option proposals to have an opinion. Fifty-eight percent of those with an opinion favor including a public option in a health care reform bill.

The new poll also shows that many Arizona voters still don’t know enough about Gov. Jan Brewer to rate the job she is doing. Thirty-seven percent approve of the job she is doing, 37 percent disapprove and 26 percent have no opinion. Among those with an opinion, 50 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove of her performance as Arizona’s governor.  The poll also found that support for a temporary one-percent sales tax proposed by the governor to help balance the budget is shrinking. In April 2009, 60 percent of Arizona voters supported the sales tax increase. The new poll found that only 51 percent would now support the tax increase.

Support for President Barack Obama also is declining in Arizona. Forty-nine percent of all Arizona voters (53 percent of those with an opinion), give Obama a positive job performance rating, 44 percent disapprove of the job he is doing and 7 percent had no opinion.  In April, 53 percent of all voters (56 percent of those with an opinion) approved of the job he was doing. Support for Obama continues to divide strongly along partisan lines. While 79 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents give the president positive ratings, only 18 percent of Republicans say he is doing a good job. 

The poll also found that while 48 percent of all voters approve of the way the president is handling the war in Iraq, only 45 percent give him a positive rating for his handling of the economy and just 38 percent give him a positive rating for the way he is handling health care reform. A majority of Arizona voters (54 percent) support sending additional troops to Afghanistan if requested by the military, while 38 percent are opposed and 8 percent are undecided. Democrats and social liberals oppose sending more troops; Republicans and social conservatives are most supportive.

The poll was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET. The statewide sample of 724 registered voters was 37 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 29 percent Independent. Fifty-nine percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 16 percent in Pima County and 25 percent in Arizona’s other counties. Forty-eight percent of the voters interviewed are men and 52 percent are women. The sampling error for the survey was plus or minus 3.6 percent.

Question wording:

Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job Jan Brewer is doing as governor of Arizona?
Overall                        With opinion
Approve                                  37%                             50%                
Disapprove                              37%                             50%
Don’t know/no opinion           26%                             -----

Governor Brewer has proposed a temporary 1-percent sales tax increase to help offset the deficit in the state’s budget.  If a sales tax increase is put to a vote of the people, would you vote for or against a sales tax increase?

Would vote for sales tax increase                   51%
Would vote against sales tax increase             41%
Don’t know/no opinion                                     8%

Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president of the United States?
Overall                        With opinion
Approve                                  49%                             53%
Disapprove                              44%                             47%
Don’t know/no opinion             7%                             -----

Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Barack Obama is doing handling the economy?
Overall                        With opinion
Approve                                  45%                             48%
Disapprove                              48%                             52%
Don’t know/no opinion             7%                             -----

Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Barack Obama is doing handling health care reform?
Overall                        With opinion
Approve                                  38%                             42%
Disapprove                              53%                             58%
Don’t know/no opinion             9%                             -----

Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Barack Obama is doing handling the war in Iraq?
Overall                        With opinion
Approve                                  48%                             56%
Disapprove                              38%                             44%
Don’t know/no opinion           14%                             -----

Would you favor or oppose sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan if the military decides more troops are needed there?
Favor                                       54%
Oppose                                    38%
Don’t know/no opinion             8%

Which of these positions about our current health care system comes closest to your own?
I am basically happy with our current system and don’t think it needs to be changed.   12%
I think we could make some minor changes to the system.                                              31%
I think the health care system needs major changes.                                                       50%
I don’t have an opinion at this time about what needs to be done.                                   7%

Do you favor or oppose including a public option in a health care reform bill? 
Favor                                                                                      25%
Oppose                                                                                  18%
Don’t have enough information to have an opinion               57%

IF HAVE  INSURANCE:    How satisfied are you with the health insurance you have?           Are you very satisfied, generally satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied?
Very satisfied                          45%
Generally satisfied                  33%
Somewhat dissatisfied           10%
Very dissatisfied                       5%
Don’t know/no opinion             7%