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Arizona Republic-ASU news poll finds Arizona up for grabs in presidential election

September 08, 2016

The race between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is a dead heat in Arizona, with a large swath of registered voters still undecided, according to a major statewide poll released this week by The Arizona Republic and Arizona State University.

The poll — a joint project between The Arizona Republic and ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS — found Clinton leading Trump 35.1 to 33.5 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent. The Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News Poll has 22.9 percent of Arizonans undecided and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 6.9 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 1.5 percent.

The poll underscores a potential shift in the Arizona electorate, which has voted Republican in all but one presidential election since 1952. In the past 64 years, Arizona has gone to the Republicans 15 out of 16 elections, with Democrat Bill Clinton taking the state in 1996.

“If there were any more evidence needed about Arizona being in play for the 2016 presidential race, this statewide poll among registered Arizona voters should suffice,” said Thom Reilly, director of ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy. “The big question is which way the large number of undecideds will go in determining the final outcome for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes.”

Among Arizona male voters, the poll shows Trump leading Clinton 35 to 29.8 percent, with 23.4 percent undecided. Johnson is at 10.8 percent, and Stein is at 1 percent. Clinton leads Arizona female voters 40.1 to 32 percent, with 22.5 percent undecided. Johnson is at 3.4 percent, and Stein is at 2 percent.

In terms of age, Clinton is ahead of Trump in the 18-35 demographic, 33.1 to 13.5 percent, with 35 percent undecided. Conversely, Trump leads Clinton in the 51-plus age demographic, 42.7 to 37.7 percent, with 16.9 percent undecided. The two candidates are evenly split between the 36-50 demographic, with Trump at 30.6 percent and Clinton at 30 percent, with 26.2 percent undecided.

In Maricopa County, Clinton leads Trump 34.2 to 33.2 percent, with 23.6 percent undecided. Johnson is at 7.8 percent, and Stein is at 1.2 percent in the county.

Overall, the poll shows voters in Arizona see both Clinton and Trump in an unfavorable light, with 59 percent describing Clinton as either “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.” Trump received a similar response, with 60 percent describing him as either “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.”

  • Clinton — Very Favorable: 11.3 percent, Favorable: 24.9 percent, Unfavorable: 21.7 percent, Very Unfavorable: 37.3 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 4.8 percent (+/‐ 3.5)
  • Trump — Very Favorable: 11.8 percent, Favorable: 23.4 percent, Unfavorable: 17.5 percent, Very Unfavorable: 42.5 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 4.8 percent (+/‐ 3.6)

In addition, the poll surveyed Arizonans’ opinions on elected officials and candidates, border security and the state’s ballot measures on marijuana and minimum wage, among other issues.

Arizona ballot measures

The Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News Poll asked registered voters’ opinions on Proposition 205, a measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.

  • Proposition 205 — Favor: 50 percent, Against: 39.9 percent, Don’t Know: 10.2 percent (+/‐ 3.4)

The poll also asked voters about Proposition 206, a measure to raise the minimum wage from $8.05 per hour to $10 per hour in 2017, then gradually to $12 by 2020.

  • Proposition 206 — Favor: 61.3 percent, Against: 31 percent, Don’t Know: 7.7 percent (+/‐ 3.3)

Arizona elected officials

The poll asked Arizonans to describe their opinions of elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, Gov. Doug Ducey and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as well as Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who are squaring off in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race.

A statewide majority of those polled, 54.4 percent described their opinion of Arpaio as either “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.” In Maricopa County, where he is running against Paul Penzone, 57.3 percent describe Arpaio as either “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.”

The results from the question: “Would you describe your opinion of each of the following people as very favorable, favorable, unfavorable or very unfavorable?”

  • Arpaio (statewide) — Very Favorable: 12.8 percent, Favorable: 26.6 percent, Unfavorable: 21.4 percent, Very Unfavorable: 33 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 6.2 percent (+/‐ 3.5)
  • Arpaio (Maricopa County) — Very Favorable: 10.8 percent, Favorable: 27.4 percent, Unfavorable: 22.6 percent, Very Unfavorable: 34.7 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 4.5 percent (+/‐ 3.5)

Opinions on Flake as well as Kirkpatrick and McCain, who are campaigning against each other, lean to slightly favorable.

  • McCain — Very Favorable: 7.7 percent, Favorable: 41.1 percent, Unfavorable: 31.9 percent, Very Unfavorable: 11.5 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 7.8 percent (+/‐ 3.7)
  • Kirkpatrick — Very Favorable: 5.6 percent, Favorable: 30.4 percent, Unfavorable: 23.1 percent, Very Unfavorable: 10.6 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 30.4 percent (+/‐ 3.3)
  • Flake — Very Favorable: 3.1 percent, Favorable: 31.8 percent, Unfavorable: 28.9 percent, Very Unfavorable: 6.6 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 29.5 percent (+/‐ 3.5)

Ducey was seen as favorable with 44.4 percent responding with either “very favorable” or “favorable” ratings.

  • Ducey — Very Favorable: 2.8 percent, Favorable: 41.6 percent, Unfavorable: 23.9 percent, Very Unfavorable: 11.7 percent, Don’t Know/Refused: 20.1 percent (+/‐ 3.3)

The Arizona Republic, Morrison and Cronkite News are releasing another poll in October that will examine the McCain-Kirkpatrick senate race as well as the Arpaio-Penzone race, among other issues.

Immigration and border security

The poll looked into Arizona voters’ opinions on immigration, asking whether they agree or disagree with deporting all illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. A majority, 68.1 percent, disagreed with deporting illegal immigrants.

  • Deporting all illegal immigrants in U.S. — Strongly Agree: 5.6 percent, Agree: 19.1 percent, Disagree: 43.9 percent, Strongly Disagree: 24.2 percent, Don’t Know: 7.2 percent (+/‐ 3.6)

The poll also asked Arizonans whether the U.S. should build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. in an effort to secure the border. A majority of voters, 54.6 percent, were against the issue, while 33.4 percent were in favor.

  • Border wall — Should Definitely Build: 25.4 percent, Should Maybe Build: 8 percent, Depends/Unsure: 11.9 percent, Should Maybe Not Build: 13.2 percent, Should Definitely Not Build: 41.4 percent (+/‐ 3.5)

Cronkite News, part of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, posed a similar question in in April and May 2016 as part of the Cronkite News-Univision News-Dallas Morning News Border Poll, which surveyed 1,427 residents in 14 cities along the U.S.-Mexico border. In that survey, 72 percent of U.S. border residents were against building a wall between Mexico and the U.S., and 86 percent of border residents in Mexico were against the wall.


The Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News Poll, conducted Aug. 17-31, 2016, was based on research findings from 1,689 telephone interviews in English and Spanish with Arizona registered voters. The poll team contracted with Behavior Research Center to collect the data. The average number of valid responses to the questions was 800. The response rate for complete interviews was 47 percent.

“The key aspects of our methodology involve both the question and who we asked,” said Eric Hedberg, senior research fellow for the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. “First, we asked more concrete questions, such as who are you planning to vote for. Second, we asked only registered voters, instead of relying on self-reports of voter registration. We also weighted the data to the registered voter database, and not the census counts that assume all people registered at the same rate.”

The complete Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News Poll and coverage from The Arizona Republic can be found at and Cronkite News at:

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