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Phoenix Business Journal: Gallup Arizona Survey shows Arizonans agree on more than we think

Posted on May 14, 2021 • Category: Op-Ed
By Sybil Francis, President & CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona

Phoenix Business Journal

The Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) recently released "The Arizona We Want: The Decade Ahead" report with critical data and valuable insights from the 2020 Gallup Arizona Survey. The survey reveals Arizonans agree on seven shared public values, defined as the major issues on which at least 70 percent of Arizonans agree, and identifies 42 specific actions Arizonans agree on to drive the state forward.

This comprehensive, statewide survey of Arizonans tells us that we agree on much more than we disagree, and we want the same things — including a strong education system, quality affordable health care, good paying jobs, sustainable practices that protect our quality of life, equity for all people and leaders who listen and lead. This level of agreement is remarkable, especially in light of the national narrative around division and polarization.

Sybil Francis

Sybil Francis, president and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

When CFA partnered with Gallup to conduct the 2020 survey the idea was to expand upon the first survey commissioned by CFA in 2009. We wanted to dive deeper into areas not addressed in the previous survey, including immigration, race relations, environmental sustainability and criminal justice reform.

The seven shared public values that emerged are:

  1. A highly educated and skilled population.
  2. Affordable health care that covers pre-existing conditions and provides accessible mental health services.
  3. Good-paying jobs and the education and training needed for all Arizonans to fully participate in a vibrant economy.
  4. Sustainable practices that protect our air, land and water, and support quality of life for all.
  5. Civic engagement that solves problems and democracy that works for all.
  6. Fair, just and equal treatment of all people.
  7. Comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship and support for DREAMers.

Arizonans want leadership at all levels to take action to help make the shared public values a reality. The survey found agreement on 42 specific actions to drive to create the change Arizonans want. For example, 79% want action to close gaps in educational outcomes for Arizona students including Arizona’s most vulnerable; 85% want action to make mental health services available and affordable for all Arizonans who need them; 85% support putting regulations in place to protect rural water supplies; 77% want criminal justice reform including a greater focus on treating substance abuse and mental health issues and providing reentry assistance; and 86% support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship including for DREAMers.

The findings are especially valuable because they demonstrate where there are opportunities to ensure more Arizonans have a place in Arizona’s success and spotlight challenges where disparities exist. The data prompt us to take a deeper look into the underlying conditions that create inequities across the board.

CFA continues to work across the state to share the information from the report, frame community conversations, deepen its own work in education, workforce and civic engagement and empower leaders to take action that aligns with what Arizonans want. 

There is a role for each of us to play in achieving the Arizona we want. No one person, organization, leader, or agency is responsible for moving our state forward. That job rests with all of us, coming together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state.