PHOENIX - A new statewide poll released today shows Arizonans, including self-identified Republicans, overwhelmingly oppose the extreme legislative agenda being pushed by lawmakers at the Statehouse, particularly measures attacking teachers, nurses and other public service workers who keep our communities safe and strong.
The poll showed Arizonans overwhelmingly want legislators to focus on creating jobs and improving education. The poll - which had a majority of respondents self-identifying as Republicans - also found that only 29 percent of Arizonans approve of the job legislators are doing for them, a finding that shows voters see their lawmakers as extreme and out of touch.
"This poll confirms what we already knew: Arizonans are tired of partisan political games that only benefit special interests like the Goldwater Institute and Arizona's 1 percent," said John Loredo, who is working with the Arizona Working Families Coalition and is the former Arizona House Minority Leader. "Legislators can either focus on job creation and improving education or face the wrath of voters in November by continuing to push these unpopular, overreaching policies that hurt working families and our communities."
The release of the poll comes a day after Arizonans delivered over 20,000 petitions, postcards and letters to Senators opposing a bill that destroys personnel protections and institutes political cronyism, and other measures that do nothing to create jobs and only put families and communities at risk. Though the poll shows job creation is the number one priority for Arizonans, reports from earlier this month show that the Senate Economic Development and Jobs Creation Committee had only met once since January and heard only three bills.
"Since the beginning of the year, extreme lawmakers have ignored the issues Arizonans elected them to work on and, instead, pushed an all-out assault on Arizona working families," said Mike Covert, an elementary school special education teacher with the Cave Creek Unified School District for the past seven years, and a registered independent voter. "With tens of thousands of Arizonans looking for work, it is disheartening to see some legislators focused on bills that create no jobs but open the door to cronyism in government and hurt teachers, nurses and others who provide vital services to our communities."
Lake Research Partners conducted the statewide telephone survey among a representative cross section of 400 registered Arizona voters on March 26-28, 2012. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
Here are some of the findings from the poll:
- 76 percent of respondents said they support the current personnel law that says there must be a reason to fire public employees like teachers, police and firefighters.
- 87 percent felt that police and firefighters should have a say in their own training and job procedures, which is part of the current personnel laws, while only 8 percent said politicians said have the final say on these procedures, a change that would come if the current personnel bill is passed.
- An overwhelming majority of Arizonans - 73 percent - also oppose a law, currently before the legislature, to prohibit public employees from setting up their paychecks to automatically contribute money to a third party.
- On legislative priorities Arizonans would like to see lawmakers work on, 40 percent ranked job creation their number one concern followed by improving education at 36 percent. Only 9 percent said legislators' priority should be to change the current hiring and firing process for public employees.
- Only 29 percent of respondents gave state legislators a positive approval rating. 35 percent rating their work as "just fair" and 34 percent said lawmakers were doing a "poor" job. This mirrors an earlier poll conducted in January by Behavior Research of Arizona that found only 26 percent of Arizonans with a positive approval of legislators but shows an increase in disapproval.
- Gov. Brewer fared better but a majority of Arizonans polled - 52 percent - gave her a "just fair" or "poor" rating.
- 50 percent of those polled self-identified as Republicans.
To see the full polling results, click on this link or go here.