RTA Polls Showed Voters Would Approve Sales Tax

The election-integrity gang that has cooked up the notion that the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority election was rigged cites a key piece of “evidence” in their arguments.

They claim that polls before the election showed the RTA propositions, which approved both a transportation plan and a half-cent sales tax to pay for it, were going down to defeat.

Attorney Bill Risner, who has led the charge against the RTA, admitted a few weeks ago that he had never seen the polls that he’s citing.

“I’m basing it on information from individuals that I find credible who have told me what they believe—and were told—those poll results were,” Risner says.

That got us wondering: Just what did those polls show?

So we called political consultant Pete Zimmerman, who ran the campaign promoting the RTA campaigns. Zimmerman was kind enough to share the results of tracking polls from the RTA election with us.

Guess what? They never showed the RTA propositions losing, although support dropped as Election Day approached.

The surveys, which were done by polling firm Marketing Intelligence, show that back in December 2005, 63 percent of the voters favored the proposition, while 23 percent were opposed and 13 percent were undecided. Zimmerman says that’s typical of past transportation sales-tax proposals in Pima County, which tend to start out strong and then lose support as opponents stab it with their steely knives.

Support for the proposition remained above 50 percent until the beginning of May 2006; about 25 percent of surveyed voters were opposed, while the other fourth were undecided.

The worst day for the sales-tax proposition came on May 6, when 42 percent supported it and 33 percent opposed it (with 25 percent undecided). But the gap began widening the next day and by May 13, 46 percent supported the proposition, 27 percent were opposed and 27 percent were undecided.

The numbers were so consistent by then that the pollsters predicted the sales tax would have the support of somewhere between 57.3 percent and 66.3 percent of the voters on Election Day.

The actual result on May 16, 2006: The proposition passed by 57.6 percent.

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2 Responses

  1. Nintzel, are you just stupid or do you assume we are? You are so biased that you think anything anti-voting integrity, anti-Clean Elections propaganda you write will really convince voters to go along? I guess you assume we are all so stupid we can’t read statistics ourselves?

    By your own article and graph, the % was showing 46% on May 13th. That is a DEFEAT. How do you claim the RTA would pass? By Arizona law, it requires 50% to pass. In fact, what you write gives more credence to the activist claims the election was stolen. They were printing out summary reports and seeing they were not getting the 50% in early voting. Time to flip the vote. Even if the poll numbers were accurate, which I highly doubt this is really what Zimmerman had internally base on my own sources, this is certainly close enough to make the RTA pushers uneasy enough to want to “secure” an outcome.

    Second, we are supposed to believe the pollster HIRED BY THE RTA folks that his ‘projection’ and ‘polling’ data is even accurate? And from Zimmerman, who has his own checkered history along with Carol Zimmerman? LOL They never met a corporation they wouldn’t sell out to if the price was right.

    I wonder why you didn’t use independent exit polling instead of internal polling done by a biased consultant getting paid by the very group pushing to pass it, and likely getting the summary reports of early reporting on top of it?

    That is priceless. Whatever happened to impartial reporting.? That is like Exxon Mobil coming out with a poll that oil doesn’t contaminate waterbeds and you publishing it saying “see, see, all those crazy environmentalist and their conspiracy theories”.

    I always knew you had no journalist integrity but you have really made a jerk of yourself on this one. Try doing real investigative reporting for a change instead of attacking the people trying to do good work in this community.

    Oh, but I am sure glad “Zimmerman was kind enough to share the results of tracking polls from the RTA election with us.” That was so sweet of him. God-like even. It is not like he had an agenda or anything. Big hugs and kisses to him.

  2. Frank: Since you gave me a choice, I’m gonna have to go with assuming you’re the stupid one, since you appear to completely misunderstand what the RTA poll shows.

    Let me explain to why a Yes vote of 46 percent, a No vote of 27 percent and an Undecided vote of 27 percent would leave anyone in The Biz confident in victory: It would mean that nearly all the undecided voters would have to vote against the proposition in order for it to lose. That’s not the way voters break on Election Day.

    Since you’re wondering, let me explain why I got the Zimmerman polls: Because the RTA-was-fixed crowd, even though they hadn’t seen the surveys, kept saying that those polls had shown that the sales-tax proposition was going to lose. They were wrong; the Zimmerman polls showed the proposition was likely to win. Tell ya what: Why don’t you track down some exit polls that show a different result? Oh, wait—I know why: Because they don’t exist.

    As for your contention that Zimmerman cooked the poll results to show the prop was winning (which requires us to leave aside your screwball interpretation that the results show the prop was losing), riddle me this:

    Did Zimmerman cook the results back in 2006 to fool the other people working on the campaign? If so, he must have been part of the conspiracy even back then, along with the firm that did the polling. Who else was involved in this far-ranging conspiracy? Please, enlighten us.

    Or did Zimmerman just cook the results that he passed along to me? If that’s the case, then he must have been prepared back in 2006 to get caught fixing the election, because other people who saw the polls before the election say these were the numbers being circulated. I got copies of the poll from state Rep. Steve Farley, who had hung onto them; they match the poll numbers I got from Zimmerman. If what you’re saying were to be true, I’d have to give Zimmerman a lot of credit: he was smart enough to pass phony numbers around to campaign insiders but foolish enough to give the “real numbers” just to your top-secret “source.” Hmmm—what sounds more likely?

    And while you’re pondering those questions, perhaps you can enlighten us as to why it would be to a pollster’s advantage to give phony numbers to their clients?

    The RTA-was-flipped crowd’s problem isn’t my reporting. Their problem is ass-clowns like you who are on their side.

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