Following the announcement of a follow-up survey on issues important to likely voters, Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) today released their latest economic findings as part of their ongoing Arizona Voters’ Agenda initiative, which identifies what likely voters prioritize in Arizona’s midterm General Election and what they want to hear about from candidates campaigning for votes. The most recent survey of likely Republican, Democratic, and independent/unaffiliated voters of all ages was conducted in late August and builds on insights from a survey conducted earlier this year.
The latest Arizona Voters’ Agenda survey findings demonstrate that growth is top of mind for the majority of Arizona’s likely voters as they highly support investing in infrastructure for this purpose. The results indicate that majorities of voters continue to prefer the investment of surplus dollars over tax cuts. The findings also provide insight into what likely voters think about some specific investments.
A sizeable 89% of the electorate agrees with the following statement, “To keep up with growth, we need to make ongoing investments in education, our transportation system, public safety, and other critical infrastructure.” This includes support among 81% of Republicans, 93% of independent/unaffiliated voters, and 96% of Democrats.
“As Arizonans feel the pressures of economic uncertainty and inflation, they are focused on the possibilities of effective state spending. A large majority of likely voters support investments to ensure our state and its economy can grow in a sustainable way,” said Dr. Sybil Francis, President & CEO of CFA. “These numbers also highlight how much agreement exists between Arizona voters on the matter of our state budget. Voters across party lines want to see their leaders strategically investing in our future.”
CFA’s earlier survey conducted in April shows high levels of support among the majority of voters for increasing public education funding and teacher pay and that they strongly prefer investing surplus dollars in infrastructure over tax cuts. The bipartisan state budget that passed in June included investments of surplus funds in some of these and other priorities on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda. The latest survey checked in with voters about their current thinking on spending. The findings also provide insights into their views on specific infrastructure investments in the future.
A majority of the electorate believes education continues to remain underfunded. Although the new state budget includes more funding for public education, 67% of all likely voters believe that schools remain underfunded and that there is still significant work to be done to increase teacher pay, support the success of low-income K-12 students, help students complete college or training after high school, make early education more accessible and maintain/repair buildings. Supermajorities of independent/unaffiliated voters, Democrats, and all age groups believe education is underfunded, although support from Republicans falls under 50%.
A majority of all likely voters continue to support investing surplus dollars over a tax cut. Support varies across political and age groups based on the specific investments asked about.
- Education: 60% of all likely voters support investing in education over a tax cut. The data by political affiliations and age groups show the majority support investing among most groups; Republicans conversely prefer a tax cut.
- Roads: 57% of all likely voters support investing in new roads and fixing streets over a tax cut. All political affiliations and age groups prefer investing in roads and streets over receiving a tax cut.
- Public Safety: 50% of all likely voters support investing in public safety over a tax cut. Most political affiliations and age groups prefer investing in public safety over receiving a tax cut. Voters aged 20-29 conversely prefer a tax cut.
“As we head into the general election and as a new legislature will begin its work, Arizona voters are looking towards the future. While most people generally support low tax rates, candidates should note that Arizonans recognize the need for investments in education and infrastructure and are not prioritizing lower taxes over this type of spending,” concluded Dr. Francis. “Short cuts, quick answers, and catch-all polarizing rhetoric surrounding tax cuts will not cut it with this general electorate. Voters want to see the big picture.”
The Arizona Voters’ Agenda initiative aims to center the narrative of Arizona elections on the voices of the majority of Arizona voters, what matters most to them, and where there is common ground to move forward on key issues. The initiative builds on CFA’s longstanding research efforts to identify what matters most to Arizonans and put their voices at the forefront of decision-making across the state.
CFA worked with HighGround Public Affairs to develop the Arizona Voters’ Agenda surveys, which were conducted in April and late August. The surveys polled likely Republican, Democratic, and independent/unaffiliated voters in the 2022 Arizona General Election with a history of electoral participation and were balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.
The latest survey findings further highlight gaps that exist between what Arizona voters care about heading into the election and what candidates for public office are talking about on the campaign trail. The media and candidates themselves have the most influence on the local and statewide political campaign dialogue. Understanding and speaking to what Arizonans agree on and care about for our state and delivering solutions on these matters can lead to increased civic engagement and ultimately create a healthier democracy.
As candidates compete for votes, the Arizona Voters’ Agenda highlights an essential set of questions for forum moderators, voters, and the general public to ask. Regarding the economy, inflation & state spending, begin with at least one big question based on the data showing where Arizonans have strong agreement: “Do you believe Arizona should prioritize cutting taxes or continue investing in critical infrastructure to keep up with growth, and why?”
About the Arizona Voters’ Agenda
CFA is focused on bringing Arizonans together around a positive agenda based on where they agree on priorities to move the state forward. The Arizona Voters’ Agenda was launched as an extension of CFA’s survey research efforts to identify and create The Arizona We Want.
The organization is bringing awareness to the findings from the Arizona Voters’ Agenda surveys to put the voices of Arizona voters at the forefront, get candidates and the media to reframe election discussions on what Arizonans agree on and care about for our state, and increase voter engagement by building a positive agenda that focuses on solutions desired by Arizonans across age, region, and political affiliation.
CFA analyzed the statewide survey data to determine which issues make the cut for the Arizona Voters’ Agenda guide of policy items and value statements supported by voters. Issues on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda meet all of the following criteria:
- “Strongly Agree/Support” is 50% and above among All Likely Voters and
- Total Support (i.e., the sum of “Somewhat Agree/Support” and “Strongly Agree/ Support”) is 50% and above among every political affiliation (Republican, Independent/Unaffiliated, and Democrat) and age group (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-64, 65+).
|The Arizona Voters’ Agenda – Economy, Inflation & State Spending|
|Policy Items||Strongly Support||Total Support|
|Supporting Arizona’s long-term economic growth.||76%||95%|
|Addressing rising costs.||69%||88%|
|Reducing gas prices.||69%||87%|
|Increasing job creation and business investment.||67%||92%|
|Value Statement||Strongly Agree||Total Agree|
|In regards to Arizona’s budget surplus: Instead of continuing to cut taxes, we should be increasing funding for education, public safety, roads, and other critical investments that will boost our long-term economic growth.||54%||82%|
|When you compare Arizona to other states across the country, our tax burden is relatively low. Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes to ensure that the state can continue to meet its core obligations.||51%||84%|
|To keep up with growth, we need to make ongoing investments in education, our transportation system, public safety, and other critical infrastructure.||61%||89%|
Political and age group breakdowns and more questions for candidates are available at ArizonaFuture.org/ArizonaVotersAgenda.
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