ARIZONA RESIDENTS SURVEY: SEPTEMBER 2012
A survey of 1,065 Arizona residents conducted during the ten days ending September 25 finds the odds favor Barack Obama winning the Presidential Election by a slim margin of 1 to 2 points with 43.2% voting for Obama and 41.6% voting for Romney.
Looking ahead to the November Presidential Election,
who would you most likely vote for?:
Barack Obama 43.3% Mitt Romney 41.7%% Other/Undecided 15.0%
The same survey finds that while the odds favor a win by Obama, the actual outcome of the election remains highly uncertain. Obama’s support includes a disproportionate percentage of Arizona residents who do not currently plan to vote.
Among the 86% of Arizona residents who currently plan to vote in the upcoming November election, the race would be tied with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each getting 44% of the vote and 12% undecided or planning to vote for someone other than Obama or Romney.
The 86% planning to vote split their vote equally:
Barack Obama 44% Mitt Romney 44% Other/Undecided 12%
Among the 12% of Arizona residents who currently do not plan to vote, 64.3% have made up their minds as to who they might vote for if they voted with a 39.4% majority voting for Obama and 24.9% for Romney.
The 12% not planning to vote favor Obama over Romney
Barack Obama 39.4% Mitt Romney 24.9%
It is highly unlikely that as many as the 86% of Arizona residents who say they vote will interrupt their life and take the trouble to go to the polls and vote. Half of all Arizona residents do not feel their vote matters. They do not believe the real problems facing the nation will not be solved no matter who is elected President. Their desire to do something of importance will take precedence over their desire to vote.
Some people say that no matter who is president, the real problems facing the country will not be solved.
Do you agree or disagree?
Agree 49% Disagree 49% Not answering 2%
What does make a positive difference in voting intention is the desire to sustain their personal happiness. Among the 15.8 percent of Arizona residents who are happiest and, therefore have the most to lose if things go wrong with the nation, 94.1% plan to vote.
At the other extreme, among the 19.0% of Arizona residents who are least happy, and have the least to lose if things go wrong with the nation, 79.8% plan to vote: a 14.3% difference with those who are happiest.
Between the two extremes, the percent planning to vote decreases in step with decreases in happiness.
ARIZONA RESIDENTS’ PLANS TO VOTE BY HAPPINESS SCORES
Happiness scores: Highest Next Highest Third Highest Lowest
Intend to vote (%) 94.1 88.8 80.2 79.8
Arizona residents are not unique in their voting performance. In the 2008 Presidential Election voting turnout of Arizona residents’ lagged turnout nationally by a margin of only four percentage points: 59% of Arizona residents voted in the 2008 Presidential election versus 63% of Americans nationally who voted for President in 2008.
Predicting the outcome of the election is complicated by the fickleness of voters. In the 42 days that intervene between the time interviewing for the Arizona survey was completed and the actual election, the outcome of the election can change.
The economy and the international situation are unstable, out of control. The President gets blamed for whatever goes wrong and rewarded for what goes right. Also, Presidential campaigns are vicious.
An engineered “October Surprise” in the days that immediately precede the election can have a decisive effect on the outcome of the election. For example, the outcome of the 2004 Presidential Election was determined by an “October Surprise” engineered by supporters of George W. Bush.
In the first ten days of October 2004, our national tracking survey found John Kerry to be a clear winner over George W. Bush. Then, the impassioned “swift boat” television campaign successfully discredited John Kerry’s account of his wartime achievements without giving him time to respond.
In the first ten days of November our tracking survey found George W. Bush was the winner by a small margin. The effect of the swift boat attack was not lasting and George W. Bush failed to endear himself to the nation as he took office. In the first ten days of January, our post-election tracking survey found that if the election were rerun in January, Kerry would have been the winner.
Because voters are fickle, the mass media currently report the outcomes of election polls almost daily as the election approaches. On the fly, the mass media try to relate changes in their predicted outcome of the election to current events such as the Presidential debates, changes in the unemployment rate, the assassination of our Ambassador to Libya, the cost of gasoline, and the unseasonable weather.
Obama gets blamed or praised for whatever happens. The percent of Arizona residents who are pleased with his performance as President exerts an enormous effect on voting intention. Our survey found only about four in ten (42%) Arizona residents are pleased with the job President Obama is doing.
Among those who are pleased with Obama’s performance in office, 89% plan to vote for Obama and only 2% for Romney in the coming election. Among those who are not pleased with the job Obama is doing, 9% plan to vote for him in November compared to 78% who plan to vote for Romney.
Fortunately for the President, the mass media report that their election polls find that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for President, is not likeable. Not only are the candidates for Presidency flawed in the eyes of the public, a majority of Arizona residents are not happy about the performance of several Republican officials who were recently elected to high state office.
Republican Senator Russell K. Pierce was removed from office as Senator and as President of Arizona’s State Senate in an unprecedented recall election last November. A majority of Arizona residents are currently unhappy about having elected Republican Janet Brewer rather than Democrat Terry Goddard as Governor in 2010.
Our survey finds that if Janet Brewer was up for re-election in November, 46% of Arizona residents would vote to remove her from office, only 39% would vote to keep her in office, leaving 4% undecided and 11% who would not vote.
In the current race to replace long serving Republican U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, our survey finds that the Democratic candidate Richard Carmona gets 28% of the vote, the Republican candidate Jeff Flake gets 27%, and a whopping 43% are undecided.
A major effort is being made by a group of Arizona residents to replace the separate Democratic and Republican primaries with an Open Primary where all voters choose from the same slate of candidates.
The candidate with the most votes and the candidate with the second most votes in the open primary become candidates in the actual election even if they represent the same party. Arizona residents will vote in the November election on whether or not to replace the separate Democratic and Republican primaries with a single Open Primary.
Because the Open Primary is a complex procedure, the survey question asked to predict whether it will be accepted or rejected needed to be worded carefully so all respondents might have a correct understanding of how the Open Primary works.
To determine what respondents believed about how the Open Primary works each respondent was asked to explain in their own words the reason for their vote.
Before the last Presidential Election in 2008, Arizona voters who wanted to select a candidate for the Presidency had to choose whether to vote in the Democratic Primary or the Republican Primary.
In the upcoming November election, Arizona voters will be asked if they favor or oppose a different way of conducting primary elections, called an “Open Primary Election.” In an open primary, all voters participate in the same primary, and Presidential candidates from all parties are on the same ballot. The candidate with the most votes and the candidate with the second most votes in the open primary go onto the Presidential Election ballot, even if they are from the same party.
Q7a. What might be good about an open primary?
Q7b. And what might not be good about an open primary?
Q8a. All things considered, are you incline to vote for or against open primary elections?
Inclined to vote For
Inclined to vote Against
Would not vote
Don’t know/Not answering
Q8b. What is the main reason you would vote (FOR/AGAINST) open primary elections?
The survey found 45% of Arizona residents are inclined to vote for the Open Primary Initiative and 31% against it, with 9% undecided and 15% not planning to vote.
Verbatim answers about the reasons for voting for or against the Open Primary, after being coded and summarized statistically, indicate that Arizona residents believed the Open Primary gives voters more choice in selecting candidates for public office.
Those who said they would vote for the Open Primary explained: less party affiliations (17.0%); more choice for voters (10.7%); more people could/would vote (9.6%); only the best candidates would make the ballot (4.5%) equal opportunity for candidates (4.5%) and a number of other reasons given by a smaller percentages of respondents as to what might be good about an Open Primary.
Those who voted against the Open Primary explained: only one party might be represented (13.5%); confusing/ people won’t know/may vote for the wrong party (7.9%); limits voter’s choices (5.1%); sabotages opposite parties (3.9%) and a number of other reasons given by smaller percentages of respondents as to what might not be good about an Open Primary.
ABOUT THE ARIZONA SURVEY
The Arizona survey is part of our long-running effort to track the nation’s progress toward establishing a government that derives its power from the consent of the governed as promised in the Declaration of Independence.
This is the first in a series of reports of findings from the Arizona survey that will be posted on 8SAGES.COM, the website maintained by Sage LLC Survival and Growth Enterprises. The next report will focus on the role played by political parties in determining the outcome of the coming election. That report will be posted in a few days.
Copyright October 2012 by Leo J. Shapiro – All Rights Reserved