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Poll: McCain won votes of evangelical Democrats in Arizona

Poll: Crossovers cite anti-abortion stance; Napolitano lauded



PHOENIX – A Cronkite/Eight Poll released Tuesday found that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., won the presidential race in Arizona in part by attracting conservative, evangelical Democrats.

Twenty-three percent of those who voted for McCain said they did so because of reservations about Obama, 22 percent said they saw McCain as more experienced or qualified and 21 percent said they admired McCain’s conservative values, particularly on abortion.

When asked why the Republican Party didn’t do well in the presidential election or in elections deciding control of Congress, 22 percent cited the policies and performance of President Bush.

Fourteen percent cited the economy, and 11 percent cited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sixty-four percent rated Bush’s performance as poor or very poor, while 34 percent rated it good or excellent.

The poll found that most Arizonans approve of Janet Napolitano’s performance as governor. Forty-seven percent rated her good and 29 percent excellent. Fourteen percent rated her poor and 2 percent very poor.

Respondents had difficulty giving opinions on Secretary of State Jan Brewer, a Republican who is in line to become governor if Napolitano joins President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet. Fifty-seven percent said they couldn’t rate Brewer. Of those who could, 69 percent rated Brewer’s performance as good, 13 percent excellent, 13 percent poor and 5 percent very poor.

As for Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat, 48 percent rated him good, 15 percent excellent, 6 percent poor and 1 percent very poor. Thirty percent said they couldn’t rate him.

Adding to the bleak outlook for holiday sales, the poll found that more than half of Arizonans expect to spend less than last year.

“Our poll really bears out some of the nervousness and some the fear that people are going through,” said Tara Blanc, the poll’s associate director.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they are likely to spend less than they did during the 2007 holiday season.

“It’s obvious to us that people really are concerned about what’s going on, and when people get concerned, they stop spending money,” Blanc said. “People have taken a wait-and-see attitude.”

The result was sharp increase from a Cronkite/Eight Poll last holiday season in which 31 percent of respondents said they planned to spend less.

Bruce Merrill, a retired Arizona State University professor who directs the poll, said the jump is a reflection of the state’s sagging economy.

“A lot of families are really having a hard time,” Merrill said. “It doesn’t bode well for the merchants that depend so heavily on the holidays.”

It also doesn’t bode well, he said, for the state budget, which already is reeling from a big drop in sales tax revenues.

“If half the people in Arizona spend less than they did last year, that could put an enormous hindrance on the state’s budget,” Merrill said.

The poll, conducted Thursday to Sunday by Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and public television station Eight/KAET, involved 780 registered Arizona voters. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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