Likely Democratic candidate Terry Goddard now trails two potential Republican opponents in the latest look at Arizona’s gubernatorial contest.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds State Treasurer Dean Martin leading Goddard 43% to 38%. Just six percent (6%) favor some other candidate in this match-up, while 13% are undecided. In January, Martin led Goddard by nine points.
Political newcomer Buz Mills, who has begun introducing himself to the state through a series of TV ads, now leads Goddard 43% to 37%. Seven percent (7%) prefer another candidate in this match-up, while 13% are not sure.
But incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer, embroiled in the state’s budget crisis, now trails Goddard 45% to 36% in her bid for reelection. Twelve percent (12%) of voters like another candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. In January, Brewer and Goddard were in a virtual tie after the Democrat held a nine-point lead in November.
Against former state GOP Chairman John Munger, Goddard holds a 42% to 36% advantage. Thirteen percent (13%) of voters pick some other candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.
In the state’s Republican Primary race for governor, Mills’ entrance has created a virtual three-way tie with Martin and Brewer. Longtime incumbent John McCain now leads conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth by just seven points in Arizona’s hotly contested Republican Senate Primary race. State Republicans will pick their Senate and gubernatorial nominees in an August 24 primary. Goddard, the state’s current attorney general, is expected to be the Democrats’ nominee for governor.
Male voters prefer Martin and Mills to Goddard among male voters but move into the Democrat’s column when Brewer or Munger is the Republican in the race. Female voters lean toward the Democrat unless Martin’s on the ballot.
Similarly, voters not affiliated with either party prefer Goddard over Brewer or Munger. But unaffiliateds give a slight edge to Martin and Mills over Goddard in those match-ups.
Fifteen percent (15%) of Arizona voters have a very favorable opinion of Goddard, while 13% view the Democrat very unfavorably.
Martin is viewed very favorably by 11% and very unfavorably by seven percent (7%).
Ten percent (10%) of voters have a very favorably impression of Mills, while only nine percent (9%) view him very unfavorably. Thirty-nine percent (39%) have no opinion of him.
Fewer than 10% of voters have a strong favorable or unfavorable opinion of Munger, while 40% of voters don’t know enough about him to venture any opinion at all.
Seven percent (7%) of Arizona voters view Brewer very favorably, but 24% view the governor very unfavorably.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Just 41% approve of the job Brewer is doing in office, while 55% disapprove. This includes eight percent (8%) who Strongly Approve and 22% who Strongly Disapprove.
Brewer, as Arizona’s secretary of state, became governor last January when Janet Napolitano moved to Washington to serve as secretary of Homeland Security. But battles over the state budget have taken a toll on her popularity and prompted challenges within her own party. Brewer is currently pushing a three-year temporary one percent increase in the state’s 5.6 percent sales tax to help close the state’s huge budget deficit. Voters will decide on that proposal in a May 18 referendum.
Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters in the state now favor the temporary sales tax increase, but 36% oppose it. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.
Thirty-five percent (35%) say the economy will be stronger a year from now, but 44% think it will be weaker. Thirteen percent (13%) expect it to stay about the same.
Eighty-five percent (85%) of Arizona voters are at least somewhat concerned about drug-related violence in Mexico spilling over into the United States, with 60% who are very concerned. Given Arizona’s location, it comes as no surprise that its voters are more concerned about this outcome than voters on the national level.
However, Arizona voters are split on the question of what concerns them more: 45% say illegal immigration is a greater concern, while 43% name Mexican drug violence.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of Arizona voters believe the U.S. military should be used along the Mexican border if violence continues to escalate there. Just 12% disagree. These results are similar to those found nationwide.
Only 36% of voters in Arizona favor the health care reform plan passed by President Obama and Congress, while 60% disapprove. Voters in Arizona are more opposed to the plan than voters on the national level.
By a 62% to 29% margin, Arizona voters prefer passing smaller plans that address individual problems in the health care system than one large comprehensive plan.
A solid plurality of the state’s voters (48%) says their local representative does not deserve to be reelected to Congress, and 71% believe it would be better for the country if most incumbents up for reelection this November were defeated.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Arizona voters describe themselves as part of the Tea Party movement.
In the 2008 election, Obama lost to favorite son McCain 54% to 45%. Forty-two percent (42%) now approve of Obama’s performance as president, with 29% who Strongly Approve. Fifty-six percent (56%) disapprove, including 51% who Strongly Disapprove. This is roughly comparable to Obama’s job approval ratings nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
In 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected nationally that Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama won 53% to 46%. Four years earlier, Rasmussen Reports projected the national vote totals for both George W. Bush and John Kerry within half-a-percentage-point.
In Arizona during the 2008 campaign, Rasmussen Reports polling showed McCain winning the state by a 51% to 45% margin. McCain defeated Obama 54% to 45%. In the 2006 Arizona governor’s race, Rasmussen polling showed Janet Napolitano defeating Len Munsil 58% to 37%. Napolitano won 63% to 35%. In the 2006 race for U.S. Senate, Rasmussen polling showed Jon Kyl leading Jim Pederson by nine, 51% to 42%. Kyl won by nine, 53% to 44%.