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CHANGE CAN WAIT

We love our incumbents, if the latest Cronkite-Eight poll is to be believed. (But can we really believe the libs at Maricopa County's PBS affiliate, KAET-TV, and Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication?)

Gov. Janet Napolitano was leading Republican Len Munsil by a stunning 36 percentage points. Nearly two-thirds of the voters--64 percent--supported the governor, while just 28 percent supported Munsil.

We'd say that's well outside the poll's 3.3 percent margin of error. Munsil's message that Napolitano is out of step with the mainstream is so not catching on.

Part of Munsil's problem: Even Republicans don't like him that much. Pollster Bruce Merrill, who conducted the poll between Sept. 21 and Sept. 24, noted that 37 percent of Republicans were crossing over to support J. No, while just 4 percent of Democrats were supporting Munsil. Wonder if Jesse Lugo is among them?

The other good news for Democrats: Attorney General Terry Goddard had a 2-to-1 lead over Republican challenger Bill Montgomery, with 58 percent of voters supporting Goddard and just 29 percent behind Montgomery.

Republicans were leading in the other statewide races. In the U.S. Senate race, 49 percent of the voters were supporting Sen. Jon Kyl, while 38 percent were supporting Democrat Jim Pederson, and 11 percent remained undecided.

In the race for secretary of state, 46 percent of the voters said they'd vote for Republican incumbent Jan Brewer; 22 percent said they were supporting Democrat Israel Torres, and 28 percent were undecided.

In the race for superintendent of public instruction, 42 percent of the voters said they'd support incumbent Republican Tom Horne; 34 percent were supporting Democrat Jason Williams, and 24 percent were undecided.

And finally, in the race for state treasurer, 40 percent of voters were supporting Republican Dean Martin; 26 percent were supporting Democrat Rano Singh, and 34 percent were undecided.

Here's The Skinny's pre-election prediction: Republican voters will cross over to support Napolitano and Goddard, mostly because Munsil's a nut, and Montgomery doesn't have nearly enough money from Clean Elections to oust an incumbent.

From there, voters--thoroughly confused by state races, legislative races, at least 19 props, school board contests, constables and so much more--will revert to voting the party line, leading to GOP victories down the rest of the ticket.


PROP SLOP

The Cronkite-Eight crew also looked into how voters feel about some of the ballot props we'll be deciding this year.

A staggering 77 percent of the 882 voters surveyed said they'd be supporting Prop 202, which would raise the minimum wage to $6.75 an hour. We suspect it'll also boost Democratic turnout.

Nearly two-thirds were supporting Prop 204, which would require hog farmers to provide their little piggies with crates that have enough room to turn around. Guess that Hogwash opposition campaign isn't working so well.

It looks like smokers are going to be on the hook for day-care bills, with 62 percent supporting Prop 203, which would increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 80 cents to pay for early childhood health and education programs.

Speaking of smoking, 57 percent of those surveyed supported Prop 201, the anti-smoking initiative supported by the American Cancer Society. Meanwhile, 55 percent were supporting the weaker alternative backed by the RJ Reynolds. Wonder if they'll be able to sort 'em out come Election Day.

On the losing side: Only 40 percent of the voters were backing Prop 200, the wackadoodle idea of creating a lottery that would award a million bucks to one lucky voter. That puts the kibosh on The Skinny's latest get-rich-quick scheme.

Prop 106, the initiative that would reform the State Land Department and set aside about 700,000 of the 9 million acres for conservation, was on the bubble, with 49 percent of the voters supporting it and 21 percent opposed.

Prop 105, the legislative alternative to Prop 106, had a lot less support, with 36 percent supporting it, 34 percent opposed and 30 percent undecided.


CASE DISMISSED

Looks like Republican Kathleen Dunbar, who lost her bid for a second term on the Tucson City Council, won't be seeing justice in a local courtroom.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Michael Alfred dismissed Dunbar's frivolous lawsuit against Democrat Karin Uhlich, who knocked Dunbar out of the Ward 3 office last November.

Dunbar filed the suit against Uhlich, several schoolteachers and a list of other defendants after Uhlich sent out a campaign mailer accusing Dunbar of squashing a deal that would have squeezed a "donation" to the Amphitheater School District in exchange for a rezoning.

Alfred ruled that the comments were protected political speech, and Dunbar had no basis for a defamation claim.


HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Arizona List boss Pam Sutherland wants Weekly readers to know we were sloppy a couple of weeks back, when we reported that her address was used for an independent campaign committee that hammered state Rep. Ted Downing in his unsuccessful campaign against state Sen. Paula Aboud in the District 28 Democratic primary ("Primary School," Sept. 21).

While Protect Tucson Women's filing with the Secretary of State's office did include a home owned by Sutherland, it's now being rented by her pal, Bridget Riceci, who was the chair of Protect Tucson Women, the indie campaign committee that hammered Downing over his opposition to a bill increasing the penalty for spousal rape.

So, other than helping pay for the campaign, Sutherland had nothing to do with it.

Sutherland also took issue with the characterization of a Protect Tucson Women phone survey regarding the spousal rape bill as an "alleged push poll." In a hearing regarding the activity of Protect Tucson Women, the Clean Elections Commission heard testimony regarding whether the survey should have been considered a push poll. While the Clean Elections Commission ruled that the survey was a push poll in an August meeting, they were less certain one week later.

Clean Elections Executive Director Todd Lang told commissioners that "it sounded like a push poll to me. ... And I still think it sounds like a push poll, but ultimately when you look at the definition of a push poll, if you've only contacted 209 people, it's simply not an effective way to do a push poll. ... Now, given the press coverage and the like, it was more effective than just calling 209 people, but that's not how you evaluate what's a push poll."


WRITE OFF

A new rumor afloat in CD8: Russ Dove, the onetime Graf supporter who managed Democrat Bill Johnson's ill-fated CD8 campaign, will soon announce his own CD8 write-in campaign as a Democrat. Our guess: Dove would pull more votes away from Randy Graf than Gabby Giffords, but we don't think a dozen votes will make a difference one way or the other.


GOOBER DEBATE

Gov. Janet Napolitano will take on Republican Len Munsil and Libertarian Barry Hess at 7 p.m. this Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the UA Student Union. If you want to see it happen, get there before 6:45 p.m., when the door will shut.

Otherwise, you can watch it live on KUAT Channel 6. Scheduled to moderate: Arizona Illustrated anchor Bill Buckmaster, Ann Brown of the Arizona Daily Star and Mark Kimble of the Tucson Citizen.

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