Tuesday, August 24, 2004

New Rocky Mountain Poll: Arizona Looking Ready to Swing


Bush 46 (48)
Kerry 41 (36)

Sample=452, 8/13 - 8/17, MOE 4.7%

Editor's Summary: With an increasingly narrow race in Maricopa County, the odds are improving that the race in Arizona will be decided by outlying counties, such as Pima and Coconino, where Democrats have a registration advantage. Poll does not include any affect of Swiftvet ads. Independents and Latinos seem to be backing Kerry in larger numbers than Bush and may make the crucial difference. Class warfare by the GOP seen in economic disparity of support. Middle income voters split evenly. Retirees evenly split, though normally 5/3 in favor of GOP.


FromRMP2004-III-11.pdf, the PDF publication of the poll:
President George W. Bush holds a decreasing, and surprisingly narrow, five-point lead over Democrat John Kerry in predominately Republican Maricopa County. Polling completed on August 18, and conducted just as a controversial television commercial attacking John Kerry’s war record was aired, finds Bush with 46 percent, Kerry with 41 percent and 13 percent undecided. What is more, since Maricopa County accounts for close to 60 percent of the vote in Arizona, the Bush lead appears to have narrowed to such a degree that the election could be determined in the outlying counties and, particularly in Pima County, which has traditionally favored Democratic candidates.

Among voters most likely to go to the polls in any election, Mr. Bush has a wider eleven-point lead, but with a strong voter turnout expected in this year’s hotly-contested presidential election, the narrower lead is probably the more realistic projection to watch. The survey also reveals that among Kerry and Bush voters, roughly 16 percent say they ”might change their vote” prior to election day (a figure that is roughly equal in proportion for both candidates). These “might change” Kerry or Bush supporters represent about 13 percent of the overall
electorate in Maricopa County. Their numbers, when added to the 13 percent who declare themselves to currently have no favorite in the race (“undecided”), raises the proportion of potential swing voters to 26 percent. And just as Pima County and the rural counties may play a pivotal role in the outcome of this year’s election, so may Independent voters. For example, while 72 percent of Republican and 75 percent of Democrat voters are “firm” in their loyalty to the flag-bearer of their party, only 46 percent of Independent voters are firm in their commitment. Further, Independents may be leaning toward Kerry. As of this survey, for example, 46 percent of Independent voters favor Kerry, compared to only 35 percent for Bush, but more importantly, 31 percent are “firmly” in the Kerry camp, compared to only 15 percent firmly committed to Bush. Kerry has also started to show greater strength among Latino voters than we have seen in the recent past: 60 percent of Latino voters in Maricopa County are now for Kerry, including 51 percent firmly committed to Kerry’s election. In contrast, 28 percent favor Bush, and all are firmly committed.

The findings outlined in this report are based on a survey of 452 voters throughout Maricopa County conducted between August 13 and August 17, 2004, by the Behavior Research Center of Arizona as part of the Center’s independent and non-partisan Rocky Mountain Poll series. The public is welcome to visit www.brcpolls.com to read this and other recent polls.
Other findings reveal that the race may be tightening because of emphasis made by the Kerry campaign to characterize the Bush tax program as favoring America’s most wealthy families over middle and lower income families and his arguments that Bush administration policies on social security and prescription drugs hurt retirees. The impact of these arguments may be seen in the vote when it is broken apart by family income of the voter. More specifically, the vote for Bush is 53 percent among the highest income families, drops to 41 percent in middle income families and to only 29 percent in the lowest income groups. Middle income families may be the deciding battleground as they are currently divided 41 percent for each candidate and 18 percent uncommitted. Retirees are splitting 45 percent for Bush to 41 percent for Kerry in a county where retirees usually vote five-to-three for the GOP candidate.

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