PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona’s Family has partnered with HighGround, the state’s oldest public affairs firm, to take a closer look at this year’s biggest midterm election races and likely outcomes at the polls.
About the survey
The survey was conducted between 12 and 13 October 2022 among likely voters, with a random sample of 500 people. The poll polled Arizona 2022 General Election voters with a history of voter turnout and was balanced to model voter turnout across party, age, region and gender. The live voter interview survey was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs among landline and mobile phone users. Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at 8% GOP. The margin of error is ±4.3%.
It’s not just the candidates on the ballot. In addition to the elections for governor, US Senate and more, there are also 10 propositions up for vote and HighGround asked poll participants how they would vote on two of them: propositions 211 and 310.
Dark money and where it comes from
211 Prop 211, also known as the dark money proposition, is about providing more transparency to Arizona voters, and it barely even made it to the ballot. Read more about it here. For HighGround’s poll, here’s how the proposal was described to voters:
The law would require entities and individuals that spend more than $50,000 on statewide campaigns or $25,000 on other campaigns, including personal and business income, to disclose the original donor of contributions of more than $5,000; and create additional reporting and enforcement provisions.
To say it has support from both parties and nonmember voters would be an understatement. “People want to know who is spending money to influence election outcomes,” said Paul Bentz, Senior Vice President of Research and Strategy at HighGround. He expects to pass according to the poll numbers, and 61% of Republicans and 75.7% of Democrats would vote for the proposal.
The result is less clear for HighGround’s other survey proposal.
Money for rural firefighters
If approved by voters, Proposition 310 would temporarily raise the state sales tax by one-tenth of a percent to help fund Arizona’s 144 fire districts. Those districts are staffed by rural firefighters and paramedics, who advocates say lack access to manpower, equipment and other resources more readily available to fire services in cities like Phoenix and Tucson. Here’s how the HighGround survey was presented to participants:
The law would establish a fire district safety fund to be funded from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2042, through a one-tenth percent increase in the state’s transaction privilege (sales) and use tax.
HighGround’s survey results show that there is more uncertainty than support for or against the proposal. Combine the “yes” votes, yes definitely, and probably, and you still get about 40%.
Lack of support
“It’s not like he has a strong opposing team, he’s still suffering from an information gap here and people aren’t able to wrap their heads around it,” Bentz says.
“The ballot language is basically just about the tax. It doesn’t really talk about the benefits of the 310,” he continued. Click/click here to see that voting language. And without all the information, it can become more biased. “Republicans basically don’t support taxes, so it runs a deficit.”
While those factors are enough to hurt its chances of passage, Prop. 310 is also literally at the bottom of the last page of the ballot, at the bottom of the top 10 statewide issues. “He’s still in the lead, but he’s below 50%, and if I were to run this campaign, that would definitely be an area of concern for them.”
Keys to take
Voters are more aware of some voting issues based on factors such as exposure; how many times they put before you for or against any measure. Propositions 211 and 310 are examples of what can be a stark contrast in terms of voter awareness.
“When you compare the two, if you see (prop) 211 at 68% (prop) 310 at 37%, it’s about trends here and it’s a much better place for dark money to go,” Bentz said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean the 310 doesn’t mean it, but it doesn’t have that strong support that you would like to see in an issue like this.”
The Arizona Secretary of State has information on the various proposals on the ballot on their website here. You can also find more information about the potential benefits of Prop 310 and why many oppose the additional tax.
Links to previous Arizona Family/HighGround Statewide Survey reports are below:
On Friday, voters’ impressions of the quality of candidates in this year’s terms.
Stay up to date with our election headlines and be sure to check out our Voter’s Guide, from the different ways to vote to how to track your ballot status.
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