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Poll shows voters want to keep FTF

A new poll shows majority support among likely voters to retain an early childhood development program whose revenues are targeted by the Legislature.

The poll, which was commissioned by the campaign opposing the legislative referral, said 53 percent of 603 likely voters would vote “no” on the proposal to dismantle the Early Childhood Development and Health Board and redirect its revenues to state coffers.

Twenty-two percent said they would vote “yes” if the election were held today, while 24 percent of the respondents were undecided.

The survey, conducted by Phoenix-based Summit Consulting Group between Sept. 22-27, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It was released Sept. 27.

It was the first public poll on Proposition 302, which the Legislature referred to the Nov. 2 ballot earlier this year to help plug the state’s budget deficit.

The questions posed to respondents were neutrally phrased.

The respondents were 44 percent Republicans, 35 percent Democrats and 20 percent independents.

The poll appeared to confirm the prevailing view at the Capitol that the campaign to dismantle the early childhood agency, commonly known as First Things First, has its work cut out.

The newly organized Kids First-Yes on 302 is sorely lagging behind in fundraising. In fact, the campaign hasn’t reported any money collected yet.

Meanwhile, the Save First Things First-No on 302 campaign raised nearly $500,000 and had $376,000 cash on hand, according to its latest financial report.

The Legislature anticipated it would get about $325 million to help offset the budget deficit if Prop. 302 passes. The Arizona Capitol Times reported, however, that as of Sept. 1, First Things First had about $430 million in the bank.

That $430 million balance is expected to dip, as up to $77 million in new grants could be awarded before the election.

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