by Paul Bentz | October 31, 2018

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Big money campaigns fail to gain traction with the Arizona Electorate

Contact:  Paul Bentz, 602-528-3684

PHOENIX (October 31, 2018) – On the final recommended day to mail in ballots, the Arizona State Constitution remains safe from two major amendments as Propositions 126 and 127 appear headed toward defeat.  The latest statewide survey conducted by HighGround Inc. reveals that Proposition 126, the prohibition on any new taxes on services, is failing 38.6% Yes to 53.1% No and Proposition 127, the renewable energy mandate, is fairing even worse with 31.8% Yes to 61.8% No.

“When you are working on a proposition or issue, you want to wrap up early voting with a number in the mid to high fifty percent range.  Both issues are far from that goal and in fact, have a majority weighing in against the proposals.  This Halloween, it appears that the proposal backers will be receiving more tricks than treats,” said Paul Bentz, Sr. Vice President of Research and Strategy at HighGround, Inc., “Proposition 126 is failing across all party and age segments.  Proposition 127 is suffering from massive Republican and unaffiliated voter opposition.  If it weren’t for vigorous Democrat support, it would be faring even worse.”

The N=400 survey was conducted among likely voters 10/26 through 10/28.  It was a statewide live caller survey calling both landlines and cell phones.  The margin of error is ±4.9%.  The partisan advantage was set at +10% GOP based on the previous trend in ballot returns.  As of today, GOP advantage in Early Ballot returns is 9.1% with 1.23 million ballots returned according to Garrett Archer from the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.

Proposition 126 backers have spent over $8.1 million on a robust media and advertising blitz.  They faced vocal (but relatively unfunded) opposition from both sides of the aisle as conservative organizations, progressive groups, education and municipal interests all weighed in against.  The survey reveals across the board opposition to the proposal without a single partisan or age segment breaking 50%.

Here are the polling questions as asked:

Q.           Proposition 126 is a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the state and each County, city, town, district, or other political subdivision in Arizona from imposing a new or increased tax on services that was not already in effect on December 31, 2017.  Knowing just what you know right now, would you vote Yes or No on Proposition 126?  [Definitely/Probably]

28.3%    Definitely Yes
10.3%    Probably Yes
15.3%    Probably No
37.8%    Definitely No
8.5%      Don’t Know, Refused

GOP Male:          48.1% Yes
GOP Female:      41.9% Yes
Dem Male:          39.7% Yes
Dem Female:      31.1% Yes
PND Male:           36.4% Yes
PND Female:      25.9% Yes
IND Male:            40.9% Yes
IND Female:        21.4% Yes

Under 29:             32.5% Yes
30-39:                    33.3% Yes
40-49:                    35.0% Yes
50-64:                    42.5% Yes
65+:                       42.0% Yes


On the other hand, Proposition 127 has surpassed the 2002 Gaming Debate as the most expensive ballot issue in Arizona history with Billionaire Tom Steyer facing off against APS in a battle that has topped over $53 million in combined spending.   Despite support from Democrats and younger voters, Proposition 127 faces serious opposition from Republicans and with GOP males at a paltry 8.9% Yes and females at 11.8% Yes.  It also suffers from low support from unaffiliated voters and all age groups besides 29 and under.

Q.           Proposition 127 is constitutional amendment that would replace Arizona’s current plan for increasing renewable energy use by imposing a new mandate requiring nongovernmental electric utilities to increase the portion of their retail energy sales generated from certain types of renewable energy resources to 50% by 2030.

Knowing just what you know right now, would you vote Yes or No on Proposition 127?  [Definitely/Probably]

24.8%    Definitely Yes
7.0%      Probably Yes
7.8%      Probably No
54.0%    Definitely No
6.5%      Don’t Know, Refused

GOP Male:          8.9% Yes
GOP Female:      11.8% Yes
Dem Male:          69.0% Yes
Dem Female:      52.7% Yes
PND Male:           21.2% Yes
PND Female:      33.3% Yes
IND Male:            31.8% Yes
IND Female:        50.0% Yes

Under 29:             50.0% Yes
30-39:                    36.7% Yes
40-49:                    35.0% Yes
50-64:                    26.7% Yes
65+:                       25.0% Yes


“Even well-funded campaigns have difficulty overcoming a crowded ballot and a muddy environment.  You have to start with a base of support and grow your coalition.  Both tried different approaches to do that and each are coming up short,” Concluded Bentz, “In the end, if voters are confused or concerned, they tend to vote no.  This is even more so the case when it comes to amending the Arizona Constitution.  At the end of the day, it is always much more difficult to get a yes vote than a no vote.”

About the Survey

The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  The partisan advantage was set at +10% GOP based on the current trend in ballot returns.  The margin of error is ±4.9%.

The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.

Survey Demographics



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