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New poll clarifies issues Arizonans care about ahead of the mid-terms

Posted on October 04, 2022 • Category: Story
By Sasha Hupka – Arizona Republic - USA TODAY NETWORK

Arizona voters across the political spectrum trust the state’s election system, according to new polling.

They also support investment in infrastructure to keep up with growth, workforce housing options for essential workers from teachers to firefighters, worry about water and want leaders who will compromise to get things done.

The survey, from the Center for the Future of Arizona in conjunction with HighGround Public Affairs, updated previous polling released in July and dug deeper on topics like government spending, elections and the environment.

The latest results suggest that voters are consistent on what issues they care about, said Paul Bentz, senior vice president of research and strategy at HighGround.

“While issues do tend to rise and fall – certainly abortion is on the rise as an issue that people want to hear more about – the other things are pretty consistent, at least over the course of an election or two years,” he said.

And yet, less than half of likely voters said candidates are talking about the issues most important to them. The new data will add to the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, a list of voter priorities the center created to encourage political leaders and candidates to address issues that are important to voters.

That effort also looks to counter narratives of political division by showing that areas of common concern exist, said Sybil Francis, president and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

“We never expected this would be some kind of miraculous transformation,” she said. “But we are trying to contribute to, at least, adding to the public discourse about Arizona.”

The poll was conducted in August and recorded responses from 500 likely voters with a history of electoral participation, balanced to model the likely turnout of voters in the 2022 general election across party, age, region and race.

Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at 8% more Republicans. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.3%

What Arizonans have in common Elections

Large majorities of surveyed voters think Arizona elections are fair and secure. Among the findings, including the partisan breakdown:

  • 74% of those surveyed rate Arizona elections as fair (89% Democrats, 68% independents and 65% Republicans).
  • 70% say Arizona elections are secure (93% Democrats, 63% independents and 54% Republicans).
  • 80% of all likely voters are confident in the results of the August election (93% Democrats, 75% independents and 70% Republicans).
  • 77% believe the results of the November elections will be accurate (90% Democrats, 70% independents and 66% Republicans).

Francis said even she was somewhat surprised by the results, given so much talk nationally and in Arizona about election integrity.

“It’s so easy to get your views influenced by that narrative,” she said.

Compromise

Additionally, 64% of those surveyed said they prefer candidates willing to compromise and work across the aisle.

Housing

The updated polling includes new questions around housing affordability. The results show that Arizonans are concerned by rising home prices. The highlights include:

  • 80% agree that house prices and rent are “out of control” (91% Democrats, 88% independents and 70% Republicans).
  • 78% say they support workforce housing options for essential workers such as firefighters, police officers, teachers, and healthcare staff (91% Democrats, 70% independents and 66% Republicans).
  • 78% believe landlords should not be able to refuse to rent to a person based on if they pay with their own funds or housing assistance (91% Democrats, 90% independents and 65% Republicans).
  • 83% think government has a responsibility to ensure people who experience homelessness can access safe, affordable housing (98% Democrats, 83% independents and 71% Republicans).
  • 78% support the idea of encouraging apartment developers to dedicate some units to families who qualify for housing assistance (97% Democrats, 78% independents and 66% Republicans).

Implementing rent control policies and encouraging multi-family housing development failed to meet the support thresholds to make the list.

Government spending

Most Arizona voters surveyed believe that schools remain underfunded, even after the state Legislature approved $1 billion in new funding for K-12 education earlier this year. Here’s some of the other spending they support, with breakdowns by party affiliation:

  • 89% agree that the government needs to make ongoing investments in critical infrastructure to keep up with growth (96% Democrats, 93% independents and 81% Republicans).
  • 57% want investment in new roads and fixing streets over a tax break.
  • 60% support investing in education over a tax cut. The data by political affiliations and age groups show the majority support investing, but Republicans prefer lower taxes.
  • 50% prioritize funding for public safety over lower taxes. Younger voters prefer a tax cut.

Water

Voters indicated that protecting the environment and ensuring long-term water supplies was one of their top issues in previous polling.

The new data shows:

  • 85% support using available funding to address environmental and water issues such as drought resiliency, clean air, energy improvement in rural areas, electric grid resiliency and fire management (95 % Democrats, 88% independents and 75% Republicans).
  • 73% do not believe Arizona has enough water for long-term growth.

The polling found that voters are divided on how they would prioritize using Arizona’s water. Francis said it was “an even tie” between recreation, agriculture and growth. “What I concluded from that is that Arizonans think all of these things are important,” she said. “And essentially, what they’re saying to leaders is, ‘We need to figure out how to meet all our needs in these areas.’ It’s very clear that all of these issues are high priorities.”

 

Sasha Hupka covers Maricopa County and regional issues for The Arizona Republic with a focus on voting and democracy. Are you a voter with questions or thoughts to share? Reach her at sash[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @SashaHupka.