Americans/Arizonas for Prosperity Questions Tax Poll

Here is the latest response on the debate over a recent poll suggesting Arizonans favor a tax increase. This was featured on the Americans for Prosperity, Arizona Chapter website.

Cutting my taxes, securing our border. That’s my AZ GOP.

(Well, one out of two is still half a loaf…)

In a news release today, the Arizona Republican Party used a Kenski/HighGround poll question to suggest that its stance in favor of a (temporary) tax increase is popular with voters. (read press release)

Sharp readers will notice that the Kenski/HighGround poll question did not break down the amount of the tax increase into per-family or per-household figures.

In our AFP Arizona poll, when we let respondents know that the increase would be over $300 per household, we got very different results. 62 percent of respondents in Phoenix were opposed to the tax, and 64 percent in Glendale. Opposition to tax increases crossed party lines, with 47 percent of self-identified “strong Democrats” in Phoenix opposed, and 52 percent in Glendale.

(Read Press Release regarding the poll.)


  1. While the tennis ball goes back and forth between the issue of polls with the underlying tension on SA of the moronic Chewie Group assault on Chuck Coughlin/ HighGround who was a sponsor of the “other” poll…. there is a major difference between the two. That is not to say they are not similar in this regard, but the description of the respondent is a determining factor. HighGround/Kenski states they asked high efficacy voters likely voters, meaning past voting history was used to pick the survey participants. AFP quotes “likely voters” and uses the opening question as the self-description. That is not unusual, “How likely are you to vote…” AFP may have used past voter records to determine the participants but that is not disclosed in the survey description or results. Of the two, which survey questioned folks who have the best voting record not just a self-described belief in the tendency to vote? If this is about the ability to pass the question that is very important; if it is about general feelings, not so much. That all changes if you are after a headline to support your position by specifically targeting less informed voters who are more likely to give a less informed answer.

    The number of responses is double in the HighGround survey (607) over the AFP survey (300). HigGround questioned voters statewide, AFP in Phoenix and Glendale. Had AFP asked twice as many voters and from other areas, what would the results be? In surveys the resulting numbers only matter if an adequate sampling is used. If the question was a Phoenix or Glendale tax hike, then the AFP survey might be a very good one. Does it truly represent the statewide intentions in a vote like this?

    This is an apples to oranges comparison, they are both fruits, but they are very different and one cannot be used as a comparison of all fruits. There are definitely some fruity things going on in this twisted debate with so much ego saving effort that the story is merely a vehicle for one more jab.

  2. Time For a Change says

    Anyone who believes Arizonans are yearning for a tax increase in order to reach fiscal balance needs to get in touch with reality. One in thirteen Arizonans seeking work is unemployed. A second one in thirteen is “underemployed” (read: very close to unemployed) and a substantial additional percentage are barely hanging on or clinging to a job they want to leave, out of fear. One out of ten Maricopa County residents will be foreclosed from their home in just 2008-09 and another two out of ten are barely hanging on. Over 70% of Arizonans have seen their life savings wiped out or hugely diminshed in the last two years. The tax burden is higher in terms of real percentage of income than it has been in decades. “High efficacy” voters and all other voters are not open to a tax increase, particularly for the abstract and chimeric goal of achieving a balanced state budget. They want services, not fiscal symmetry. If not an outright push poll, this is another artfully worded poll, with the data crunched just so, to bolster a particular viewpoint. That particular viewpoint will prove to be political poison.

  3. SonoranSam says

    Time for a change: Read Ann’s excellent analysis of the methodologies.

    Margaret Kenski is a highly regarded pollster whose work has guided the campaigns of most successful Republicans.

    She knows how to do polling, and her results closely correlate to the final results of elections.

    As to your point that no one wants a tax increase…this is a sound investment in kids, in Arizona’s future, and in our state’s economy. Good schools prepare the next generation to be competitive. Good schools attract businesses that need a well-trained workforce – and want their own kids to get a good education.

    And good schools raise property values. Ask your real estate about the impact that the local school district(s) have on the value of commercial and residential property.

    No one likes a tax hike, but no one wants to see Arizona descend into economic decline either. If I were unemployed – and I have been – I’d support something that improves the economy and makes it more likely that new jobs will be created. I did in the past and I will in the future.

  4. Time For a Change says


    With regard to Kenski, she is a skilled pollster who understands her client’s political imperatives, as do all professional pollsters. It’s why conservatives use Rasmussen and liberals used Zogby (or, back in the day, Louis Harris).

    With regard to “…this is a sound investment in kids, in Arizona’s future, and in our state’s economy” – you’ve got to be kidding me. Nobel prize winning economist Ed Prescott stated: “Brewer is making a big mistake if she increases taxes”. If you prefer a liberal Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman has called for tax cuts over the next two years. If you prefer a supply sider, Art Laffer is on record against tax increases. If you want a classical economist, pretty much the entire Chicago school is on record against raising taxes in this recession. Spare me the rhetoric about “investing” in our future by raising taxes – we tried that in the 1970’s and it nearly destroyed us.

  5. Veritas Vincit says

    The word is from the 9th Floor, Governor Brewer is actively encouraging her departments to slurp up every available “Obama Stimulus Dollar” being printed they can get their snouts on.

    What’s Arizona going to do when the *temporary* tax expires in two years AND the federal stimulus funding expires in two years?

    There’ll be a huge sucking sound as the vacuum we know as state government desperately gasps for funds.

    Picture it.

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