Nearly 30% remain undecided as outside Special Interests spend funds to influence the regulatory race
PHOENIX (October 20, 2016)— In the same poll of likely Arizona General Election voters that showed Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton with a 2 point lead and U.S. Senator John McCain with a 10 point lead, 29.4% of the Arizona electorate remain undecided on who should be elected to regulate Arizona’s public utilities and private water companies.
The latest surge in spending from special interest groups using grey and dark money (undisclosed funds) seems to be helping Republican Commissioner Andy Tobin. Tobin is polling at the top of the field for the three spots with 16.8% of the vote. Democrats Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell filled the second and third spots with 15.9% and 15.1% respectively. Commissioner Bob Burns, who was the highest vote getter in the Primary Election, was in fourth place with 12.3% and Boyd Dunn is trailing with 10.0% of the vote. (The margin of error on the survey is 4.9%).
“Clearly the Arizona Corporation Commission race remains very competitive as grey and dark money organizations spend funds to influence the Arizona electorate. While most voters have made up their mind about the top of the ticket, they have yet to make up their minds on down ballot races that are receiving less media attention,” said J. Charles “Chuck” Coughlin, President and CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which commissioned the poll late last week. “After the final Presidential debate last night, I would expect Arizona voters to be playing closer attention to these down ballot contests that are important to Arizona’s economic success.”
Tobin, Chabin, and Mundell are virtually tied in Maricopa County and the Democrats have an eight point lead in Pima County. However, Tobin is enjoying a more than 10 point lead in rural Arizona. Nearly 50% of independent and unaffiliated voters remain undecided. However, railing against dark money and outside influence appear to be working for Chabin and Mundell with both tied for first earning over 20% a piece with voters who are unaffiliated with either Party. Tobin trails in 3rd with nearly 13%, while Burns and Dunn are further behind among independent and unaffiliated voters.
Coughlin concluded, “Our statewide research has shown time and again that Arizona voters believe that undisclosed dark and grey money organizations are corrupting influences and damage the integrity of judicial bodies, such as the Arizona Corporation Commission. Commissioner Tobin has been an outspoken supporter of these dark money interests who have supported him in the past, so it comes as no surprise that he leads as grey and dark money groups influence the race. That can still change, however, as more Arizonans begin to focus on down ballot races.”
About the Survey
The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 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. Anticipated turnout for the Arizona General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +9%.
Q. If the General Election for the Arizona Corporation Commission were held today, who would you vote for: [Rotate names] [Respondents may pick up to three]
16.8% Andy Tobin, Republican
15.9% Tom Chabin, Democrat
15.1% Bill Mundell, Democrat
12.3% Robert “Bob” Burns, Republican
10.0% Boyd Dunn, Republican
The survey was conducted on October 14th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence. HighGround recently “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include Restoring Arizona, Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Maricopa Health Foundation, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns. Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.
12.0% 20 to 29
17.0% 30 to 39
25.0% 40 to 49
22.7% 50 to 64
23.3% 65 Plus