Arizona’s Family/HighGround Statewide Survey: Where voters stand on Propositions 211 and 310

Updated: Oct. 20, 2022 at 7:00 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona’s Family has partnered with HighGround, the oldest public affairs firm in the state, to take a closer look at the biggest races in this year’s midterm election and possible outcomes by polling voters.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted among likely voters from October 12 through 13, 2022, with a random sample of 500 people. The poll surveyed likely Arizona 2022 General Election voters with 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 landline and cell phone users. Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at +8% GOP. The margin of error is ±4.3%.

It’s not just candidates on the ballot. In addition to elections for governor, U.S. Senate and more, there are also 10 propositions up for a vote and HighGround asked survey participants how they would vote on two of them: Propositions 211 and 310.

Dark money and where it comes from

Prop 211, also known as the dark money proposal, is about providing more transparency to Arizona voters — and it almost didn’t even make it on the ballot. Read more about that here. For HighGround’s survey, here’s how the proposition was described to voters:

The law would require entities and persons spending over $50,000 on statewide campaigns or $25,000 on other campaigns, not including personal monies and business income, to disclose the original donor of contributions over $5,000; and create additional reporting and enforcement provisions.

To say it has support across both parties and unaffiliated voters would be an understatement. “People want to know who’s spending money to influence the outcome of elections,” said Paul Bentz, HighGround Senior Vice President for Research and Strategy. He expects it to pass based on the numbers in the survey, which found that 61% of Republicans and 75.7% of Democrats would vote in favor of the proposition.

The outcome isn’t so clear for the other proposition in HighGround’s survey.

Money for rural firefighters

If passed by voters, Proposition 310 would temporarily increase the state sales tax by one-tenth of a percent to help fund the Arizona’s 144 fire districts. Those districts are made up of rural firefighters and paramedics who proponents say don’t have access to manpower, equipment and other resources that come more easily to urban fire departments in cities like Phoenix and Tucson. Here’s how it was presented to HighGround survey participants:

The law would establish a fire district safety fund to be funded via an increase of one-tenth of one percent to the state’s transaction privilege (sales) and use tax from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2042.

HighGround’s survey results show there’s more uncertainty than support for or against the proposition. Combine the “yes” votes, both definitely and probably, and you still only hit roughly 40%.

Lack of Support

“It’s not that it has some solidified anti-group against it, it’s just still suffering from an information gap here and folks aren’t able to really wrap their head around it,” Bentz says.

“The ballot language is basically only about the tax. It doesn’t talk about really any of the benefits of 310,” he continued. Tap/click here to see that ballot language. And without all the information, it can become more partisan. “Republicans are basically disinclined to support taxes anyway, so it suffers from a deficit there.”

While those factors are enough to hurt its chances of passage, Prop 310 is also literally at the bottom of the last page of the ballot, at the end of 10 statewide issues. “It’s still leading but it’s below 50%, which if I were running this campaign, it would certainly be an area of concern for them.”

Key takeaways

Voters are more aware of some ballot issues based on factors like exposure; how often it’s put in front of you by those in support of or against any given measure. Propositions 211 and 310 are examples of what can be a sharp contrast in terms of voter awareness.

“When comparing the two, if you look at (prop) 211 at 68% compared to (prop) 310 at 37%, it’s all about trends here and the dark money one is in a much better spot for passage,” Bentz said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean 310 won’t, but it doesn’t have that solidified support that you would want to see on an issue like this.”

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office has information about the various propositions on the ballots on its website here. You can also find more information on the potential benefits of Prop 310 and why many are against the added tax.

Continuing Coverage

Links to our related reports on the Arizona’s Family/HighGround Statewide Survey are below:

Stay up-to-date with our election headlines and be sure to check out our Voter’s Guide, covering everything from different ways to vote, to how to track the status of your ballot.

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