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ASU-Southwest Poll releases results of 4-state survey

November 03, 2008

In spite of a grim economy, many Southwesterners in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico are optimistic that conditions in the U.S. will improve over the next year, according to the Arizona State University-Southwest Poll released Oct. 30. The poll also shows that the race for the White House remains close. Poll results are available online at

The telephone poll, which was conducted by ASU’s Institute for Social Science Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, asked more than 1,200 residents in the four Southwestern states their opinions on several issues, including the economy, jobs and the U.S. presidential race.

On the subject of the economy, 35 percent of the respondents say economic conditions in this country will be better a year from now, while 34 percent say they will be the same, and 25 percent say they will be worse. Six percent did not respond or didn’t know.

When asked about their family’s financial situation, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say their family’s financial situation will improve in the coming year, while only 5 percent say it will get “a lot worse,” and another 17 percent say “a little worse.”

Looking at jobs, Southwesterners voice moderate concern about losing jobs and are confident they could find comparable jobs if they have to find other employment. Specifically, 39 percent were “very” concerned or “somewhat” concerned about losing their jobs in the next year or having their hours of work reduced, while 17 percent were “not too concerned” and 43 percent were “not at all concerned.”

When asked how confident they were that they could find other employment at a comparable rate of pay within a reasonable time, 66 percent were “very” or “somewhat” confident, while 33 percent were “not very” or “not at all” confident.

Yet, at the same time, most people say jobs are difficult to find, especially “good” jobs. Some 57 percent say jobs are difficult to find in their community, versus 32 percent who say there are plenty of jobs available. Another 11 percent did not answer or didn’t know.

When asked about “good” jobs, 72 percent say good jobs are difficult to find, while only 20 percent say there are plenty of good jobs available.

Southwesterners also were asked about the future of children in the U.S. Asked “When children today in the U.S. grow up, do you think they will be better off or worse off than people are now?” more than half (57 percent) say “worse off,” a third (33 percent) say “better off,” a few (3 percent) say the “same,” and the rest didn’t know or didn’t answer.

The Arizona State University-Southwest Poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 22 to Oct. 17 among a random sample of 1,208 adult residents in the Southwest United States (293 in Arizona, 190 in Nevada, 525 in Texas and 200 in New Mexico). The results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

It appears that Arizona State University is the only university in the Southwest region conducting a formal regional public opinion poll. Sample questions were submitted by faculty researchers. The polling questionnaire was compiled by the professional staff of experts at ASU’s Institute for Social Science Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The institute’s research facilities include a 17-station telephone interviewing facility with computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) capability and silent monitoring. More information is available at