New KAET Poll: McCain Leads in Arizona

The latest Cronkite/Eight Poll shows that Arizona Sen. John McCain continues to lead in his home state, although the numbers are significantly lower than a Rasmussen poll taken at the end of July.

The survey shows that McCain has the support of 40 percent of those surveyed, Obama has the support of 30 percent, Ralph Nader has the support of 2 percent and Libertarian Bob Barr has the support of less than 1 percent. About 28 percent are undecided.

It appears that Obama’s supporters are more inclined to like their choice than McCain’s supporters are. (We call that the lesser-of-evils scale.) Pollster Bruce Merrill notes that 30 percent of McCain supporters say they’ll vote Republican because they don’t like Obama, while only 16 percent of Obama supporters say they’ll vote Democratic because they don’t like McCain.

Here’s the release on the poll:

TEMPE, Ariz. ––Republican Sen. John McCain continues to lead Democratic challenger Sen. Barack Obama by 10 percentage points in Arizona, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll conducted August 14-16. The statewide poll of 402 registered voters found that 40 percent support McCain, 30 percent favor Obama, 2 percent support independent candidate Ralph Nader and less than 1 percent will vote for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. Twenty-eight percent were undecided.

The undecided vote is surprisingly high for this late in the campaign; however, those who have made up their mind feel strongly about their decision. Seventy-four percent of McCain’s supporters and 80 percent of Obama’s supporters say they feel very strongly about their choice.

The poll also found that almost one-third (30 percent) of those supporting McCain said they were voting against Obama rather than supporting McCain. Sixteen percent of Obama’s supporters said they were voting against McCain rather than for Obama.

About one-third of Arizona voters said both candidates were running negative campaigns, with more voters perceiving McCain as running a negative campaign (38 percent) than Obama (26 percent).

According to poll director, Dr. Bruce Merrill, “McCain continues to lead Obama by about 10 percentage points but with an unusually high 28 percent of the voters still undecided. McCain maintains his lead in Arizona mainly because evangelicals and conservative Democrats are disproportionately supporting him. The McCain campaign also appears to have successfully created a fairly strong anti-Obama sentiment in the state. It will be interesting to see if the Obama campaign chooses to campaign heavily in Arizona. Voter turnout also will be an important factor in the final outcome of this contest. Polls are not very good at determining who will and will not vote. A higher turnout will probably help Obama more than McCain. Another factor will be whether the Latino vote in Arizona turns out in significant numbers.”

The Cronkite/Eight Poll also found that almost three-fourths (72 percent) of all registered voters said they would favor reducing the work week in governmental state and local governmental agencies from five to four days and extending the hours that offices are open. Support for the proposal was found across all political and demographic groups.

The statewide telephone poll of 402 registered voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET-TV. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. The sample was 39 percent Republican, 33 percent Democrat and 29 percent Independents. Fifty-six percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 19 percent in Pima County and 25 percent in Arizona’s other counties. Forty-seven percent of the voters interviewed are men and 53 percent are women.

Salt River Project and The Summit Consulting Group, Inc., provided funding for this survey as a public service.

Cronkite/Eight Poll results are located on the Eight Web site at www.azpbs.org.

Question wording:

First, we would like to know who you will probably vote for in the upcoming presidential election in November. Will you probably vote for Republican John McCain, Democrat Barack Obama, Libertarian Robert Barr or Independent Ralph Nader?

McCain 40%

Obama 30%

Nader 2%

Barr * (Received less than one percent)

Undecided 28%

ASK ONLY IF WILL VOTE FOR MCCAIN: Would you say you feel very strongly about your support for John McCain or not very strongly?

Very strongly 74%

Not very strongly 25%

Don’t know/no opinion 1%

ASK ONLY IF WILL VOTE FOR MCCAIN: Would you say you are voting more for McCain or more against Obama?

More for McCain 60%

More against Obama 30%

Don’t know/no opinion 10%

ASK ONLY IF WILL VOTE FOR OBAMA: Would you say you feel very strongly about your support for Barack Obama or not very strongly?

Very strongly 80%

Not very strongly 15%

Don’t know/no opinion 5%

ASK ONLY IF WILL VOTE FOR OBAMA: Would you say you are voting more for Obama or more against McCain?

More for Obama 76%

More against McCain 16%

Don’t know/no opinion 8%

Thinking about the campaign that John McCain is running against Barack Obama, would you say that he is running a very positive campaign, a positive campaign, a negative campaign or a very negative campaign?

Very positive campaign 7%

Positive campaign 41%

Negative campaign 26%

Very negative campaign 12%

Don’t know/no opinion 14%

Thinking about the campaign that Barack Obama is running against John McCain, would you say that he is running a very positive campaign, a positive campaign, a negative campaign or a very negative campaign?

Very positive campaign 11%

Positive campaign 46%

Negative campaign 20%

Very negative campaign 6%

Don’t know/no opinion 17%

Now, on a different topic, some state, county and local government agencies in Arizona are considering going from a five day to a four day work week and extending the hours on the four days that these offices are open. In general, would you tend to favor or oppose this idea?

Favor 73%

Oppose 16%

Don’t know/no opinion 11%

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