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Poll: Arizonans change their minds about McCain’s chances

Arizona voters appear to have changed their minds about Sen. John McCain's chances at becoming the next U.S. president – and that's not a good sign for Sen. Barack Obama.

Most Arizonans who took part in a recent Cronkite/Eight poll between April 24-27 said they believe McCain would beat both Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton in the November election. That has changed since February, when a majority of likely voters in Arizona said they thought McCain would beat Clinton in a head-to-head matchup, but not Obama.

The new poll found that voters now think that McCain would defeat Obama 44 percent to 34 percent in the presidential election. Voters in the April poll also said they think McCain would easily win against Clinton in November by a margin of 53 percent to 30 percent.

That's not all the good news for McCain. It appears as though he's widening his lead over Obama, who still was clinging to front-runner status after a big Clinton win in Pennsylvania's primary.

Arizonans favored McCain over Obama 47 percent to 38 percent and favored McCain over Clinton 53 percent to 37 percent.

The April poll also asked voters why they were supporting a particular candidate. McCain supporters preferred him primarily because they don't 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 because of his record in the Senate and because of his previous military experience. When McCain is paired against Clinton, a majority of McCain's votes come from people who either say they personally dislike Hillary Clinton or who don't like Bill Clinton and don't want to see another Clinton in the White House.

Likewise, Obama wins votes because some voters don't like McCain or Republicans in general. Voters also indicated they like Obama's message of hope and change and because he supports various liberal or progressive social policies such as health care and tax reform.

Clinton's primary support comes from those who support whoever the Democratic nominee is and those who want a change from current Bush policies, especially the war in Iraq. Others say she has the experience to be president.

"Sen. McCain will win in his home state this November regardless of who the Democrats nominate," said Bruce Merrill, who conducted the survey. "The survey also shows that in Arizona, at this time, Barack Obama runs stronger against McCain than Hillary Clinton.

"There appear to be two reasons for Obama's 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."

When Democrats were asked who they wanted to win the Democratic nomination, they were almost evenly divided. Forty-five percent preferred Obama and 39 percent favored Clinton. The poll also found that, so far, the hotly contested Democratic primary doesn't seem to have seriously divided the party.

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 is doing. Seventeen 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.

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 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 percent

Obama                                     38 percent

undecided/not sure                 15 percent

2. If McCain: Why do you support McCain rather than Obama≠

%         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≠

%         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 percent

Obama                                     34 percent

don't know/no opinion           22 percent

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

McCain                                   53 percent

Clinton                                    37 percent

undecided/not sure                 10 percent

6. If McCain: Why do you support McCain rather than Clinton≠

%         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≠

%         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/Clinton race in November≠  

McCain                                   53 percent

Clinton                                    30 percent

don't know/no opinion           17 percent

9. If Democrat: Who would you like to see become the Democratic nominee in November≠  

Obama                                     45 percent

Clinton                                    39 percent

undecided/not sure                 16 percent

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

definitely vote for Clinton      55 percent

probably vote for Clinton       13 percent

probably vote for McCain       12 percent

definitely vote for McCain     10 percent

don't know/no opinion           10 percent

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

definitely vote for Obama      51 percent

probably vote for Obama        11 percent

probably vote for McCain         9 percent

definitely vote for McCain       8 percent

don't know/no opinion           21 percent

12. Now we would like to ask you to rate the overall job performance of several elected officials. If you don't know who they are or don't feel you know enough about them to rate the job they are doing, just tell me and I'll go on to the next person. Let's start with President George Bush. Would you rate the job he is doing as excellent, good, poor or very poor≠

excellent                                    3 percent

good                                        31 percent

poor                                         22 percent

very poor                                 39 percent

don't know/no opinion             5 percent

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

excellent                                  27 percent

good                                        49 percent

poor                                         13 percent

very poor                                   4 percent

don't know/no opinion             7 percent

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 percent                                 7 percent

good                                        36 percent                               63 percent

poor                                         13 percent                               22 percent

very poor                                   4 percent                                 8 percent

don't know/no opinion           43 percent                               —–

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 percent                               32 percent

good                                        33 percent                               37 percent

poor                                         21 percent                               17 percent

very poor                                 15 percent                               14 percent don't know/no opinion                    5 percent                                    —–

16. Finally, how wHoould 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 percent                               10 percent

good                                        36 percent                               55 percent

poor                                         16 percent                               25 percent

very poor                                   6 percent                               10 percent

don't know/no opinion           36 percent                               —–

 

 

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