Arizona: Policy Priorities and the Election – October Update


On October 3-5, 2020, Basswood Research conducted a survey of likely general election voters in Arizona for the American Action Forum.  The survey was conducted by live professional interviewers by telephone.  The sample size was 800, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%, at a 95% confidence interval.  Interviews were geographically distributed to reflect actual voter distribution in Arizona general elections.

Arizona Policy Survey – Crosstabs Oct 2020

Arizona Policy Survey – Toplines Oct 2020

Key Findings

  • Voter preferences on major policy choices have changed little since August.

Responses were little changes on questions that we duplicated from our August survey.  Voters still oppose a $4 trillion tax play by about 3:1; support a $1 trillion stimulus plan notwithstanding debt implications by about 2:1; prefer Joe Biden reduce his spending plans rather than increase his tax plans by 2.5:1; heavily favor increasing regulation of tech firms, but oppose social media content regulation; and are roughly evenly divided on climate change propositions.

  • Domestic issue priorities are heavily impacted by partisan preference.

We asked the issue priorities question differently than we did in August.

Q:        Which of the following do you consider the most pressing domestic policy issue?  [Four listed responses are below]

A:        38%     Eliminating the coronavirus

24%     Supreme Court appointments

21%     Economic recovery

14%     Social justice and equality

2%     Don’t know/refused

There were stark differences in policy priorities between Republicans and Democrats.  For Republicans, forty percent prioritized the Supreme Court first, followed by the economy at 29%, coronavirus at 23%, and social justice at 6%.  For Democrats, 57% prioritized the coronavirus first, followed by social justice at 25%, the Supreme Court at 11%, and the economy at 8%.  Independents essentially split the difference: 38% coronavirus, 30% economy, 22% Supreme Court, and 6% social justice.  This is a picture of red and blue America.

This difference was also borne out in the presidential race, with those who most prioritize the coronavirus favoring Biden over Trump 75%-23%, and those most prioritizing social justice favoring Biden over Trump 76%-14%, while those who most prioritize the economy favored Trump over Biden 80%-16%, and those most prioritizing the Supreme Court favored Trump over Biden 79%-19%.

  • A substantial majority of voters support keeping the filibuster procedure in the U.S. Senate.

Q:        The rules of the U.S. Senate allow the minority political party to require a sixty percent majority vote to pass legislation by using a procedure known as a filibuster.  Some propose eliminating this procedure and requiring only a fifty-one percent majority to pass laws through the Senate.  This would make it easier for the majority party to have its way.  Which do you prefer, keeping the filibuster and requiring 60% to pass bills in the Senate, or eliminating the filibuster and requiring 51% to pass bills in the Senate?

A:        58%     Keep the filibuster

32%     Eliminate the filibuster

10%    Don’t know/refused

Each partisan affiliation supported keeping the filibuster, although by different margins.  Democrats were weakest in their support, at 50%-41%.  Republicans were next at 60%-30%.  Independents were the most supporting of the filibuster by 67%-23%.  Even self-described liberals support keeping the filibuster by 49%-41%.  Younger voters under age 40 supported the filibuster (68%-26%) more than older voters over age 65 (54%-33%).

  • A strong majority of voters see free trade in positive terms, but also support trade tariffs on Chinese products.

Q:        In general, do you think free trade between America and foreign countries

is generally a good thing because it opens foreign markets to American businesses and helps create jobs here at home, or to you think free trade is generally a bad thing because other countries use unfair trading practices and American companies and jobs end up moving overseas?

A:        64%     Good thing

24%     Bad thing

11%    Don’t know/refused

Q:        Tariffs raise the price that Americans pay for imported products from other countries.  They are like taxes on foreign made goods.  Do you think tariffs on products made in China should be increased, decreased, or left the way they are now?

A:        38%     Increased

32%     Left where they are

20%     Decreased

10%     Don’t know/refused

As a general concept, free trade has broad support across partisan and demographic lines, including being favored by Trump voters 54%-33%.  However, China is viewed differently by large numbers of voters, likely due to factors external to trade, i.e. coronavirus culpability, human rights abuses, national security concerns, etc.  Seventy percent would either continue current tariff levels or increase them on China, while only 20% favor decreasing them.  Note, however, that even among the 38% who favor increasing tariffs on Chinese goods, they also support the general pro-free trade position by 52%-37%.