Survey: Arizonans most concerned about protecting children and K-12 education; 38% concerned about ‘homeowners solar energy incentives’

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.34.55 AMNEWS RELEASE

Behavior Resaerch Center’s Rocky Mountain Poll

Phoenix, Arizona, February 17, 2015 – As Arizona begins 2015 with a new Governor and State Legislature, consumers and voters across the state were asked to prioritize each of 13 issues in terms of what they would like elected state officials to address. Interesting among the findings is that although economic recovery tops the rhetoric of politicians across Arizona and the nation, other issues have greater priority among voters in Arizona today. This shift in focus may trace to growing confidence in the recovery of the economy, both nationally and in Arizona, and a belief they can return to issues closer to their hearts and to their day-to-day lives.

The two issues of greatest importance to voters are taking steps to protect children from abuse by their parents and improving public education at the K to 12 level. From 75 to 78 percent rate these as very high priorities to which the Governor and Legislature should attend. Ex-governor Jan Brewer championed demands for improvement in both education and child protective services and her legacy has not been forgotten by voters now that she is out of office.

Three other issues are ranked as high priority by half the public. These include funding mental health programs (58%), protecting Arizona’s environment (57%), and taking steps to get so- called dark money out of Arizona elections (48%).

The strong reading on “dark money” is no doubt a reflection of the general discomfort voters felt during and after the bruising 2014 election which many believed focused more on character assassination than on issue debate and which involved millions of dollars being spent in Arizona by shadowy outside sources. Protecting the natural environment has been a latent issue in search of an advocate for many years, but in recent times, as climate change has grabbed many imaginations, the issue may be on the verge of resurgence.

Of lower priority to taxpayers is the concept of giving tax incentives to major companies to move to Arizona, yet even for this issue, 48 percent consider it a major priority. A marginally greater percentage (52%) consider it a high priority to give tax incentives to existing companies to expand job opportunities in the state. And while there is no doubt that the public is still deeply concerned about the job market in Arizona (65 percent still classify job availability in Arizona as “few or hard to get”) the public is nonetheless divided on whether giving business tax breaks is a good job creation strategy.

Lower priorities are assigned by the public to six other issues: Expanding fire and police protection (43%); Improving community streets and roads (38%); Homeowners solar energy incentives (38%); Expanding Public transportation (38%);

Building more freeways (23%); and

Slowing Arizona’s rate of population growth (23%).

This report is based on a statewide survey of 701 adult heads of household including 460 registered voters. It was conducted between January 13 and 21 of 2015 by the Behavior Research Center of Arizona and is part of the Center’s Independent and non-partisan Rocky Mountain Poll Series which is rated in the top 15 percent of independent polls in America . The public is welcome to visit www.BRCpolls.com for this and other polls.

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