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Cronkite/Eight Poll: Most Arizonans optimistic about economy

Most Arizonans think the economy will get better next year, according to a Cronkite/Eight Poll released Nov. 24.

Fifty-four percent of those polled said their own economic situation will be significantly or somewhat better a year from now.

“It’s a significant finding,” said Marshall Vest, a University of Arizona economist who specializes in economic forecasts. “Consumers and business leaders need to develop confidence in the economy before we start seeing significant improvements.”

Tara Blanc, associate director of the poll, said the results ran with party affiliation.

“Democrats were twice as likely to say their situation would get better,” Blanc said. “We think it’s interesting because the Republicans tend to be more affluent.”

She said this may have something to do with registered Democrats feeling better about the future because President Barack Obama is a Democrat.

Michelle Ahlmer, executive director of the Arizona Retailers Association, said the recovery is slow for retailers.

“It’s been up and down quite a bit, but the general trend we’re seeing is upward,” Ahlmer said, adding that this holiday season may make or break smaller retailers.

Dennis Hoffman, professor of economics at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said the results are encouraging.

“Arizona is moving along on a modest recovery track,” Hoffman said. “I think what people are feeling is that there are signs of life.”

Twenty-six percent of respondents said they would be somewhat or significantly worse off financially next year. Eight percent said they thought their situation would stay the same and 12 percent said they didn’t know.

The poll, conducted by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and public television station Eight/KAET, took place Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 19-22. Student volunteers interviewed 862 registered voters. The poll has a statewide margin for error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

The Cronkite School operates Cronkite News Service.

The poll also found:

– Voters are split on their assessment of Obama: 48 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove.

– Forty-five percent said Obama should send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, 40 percent said he shouldn’t send more troops and 15 percent said they had no opinion.

– Sixty-three percent of Arizonans would be opposed to Sarah Palin becoming president. Twenty percent would like to see her become president, and 17 percent had no opinion.

– If the 2010 governor’s race were between Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, and Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat, 28 percent would vote for Brewer, 47 percent would vote for Goddard, 4 percent would vote for neither and 21 percent had no opinion.

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