Merrill/Morrison Poll looks at key legislative issues
May 10, 2012
Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Arizona voters strongly oppose a measure that will allow certain employers to query female employees about birth control methods, but are split on banning abortions after 20 weeks, according to findings from a recent Merrill/Morrison Institute Poll released Thursday.
The statewide poll also found that the majority of voters oppose allowing firearms to be carried into public places and the creation of a volunteer militia, but support requiring presidential candidates to sign an affidavit attesting to their U.S. citizenship.
According to Dr. Bruce Merrill, senior fellow at Morrison Institute and the poll’s director, the findings indicate a disconnect between the policies of the state Legislature and the average voter in Arizona.
“It is clear that the main reason for this disconnect is that most of the legislators sponsoring these bills were elected during the primary election when voter turnout is very low,” Merrill says.
“During low-turnout elections, voters who are at the extreme end of both the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ disproportionately are the ones who go to the polls. For those who disagree with the Legislature’s policies and want a more ‘moderate’ public policy, the message is clear—get out and vote in the primaries, as those who vote legitimately have the right to determine public policy,” Merrill explained.
According to the Merrill/Morrison Institute Poll, eight in 10 Arizona voters (84 percent) oppose allowing religious organizations that provide health insurance for their employees to ask female employees if they use birth control while only 13 percent support the measure.
Most telling, 60 percent “strongly oppose” this measure.
Opposition is equally high among men and women. Although registered Republicans are slightly less opposed to it (78 percent) than Democrats (90 percent), all subgroups included in the poll overwhelmingly oppose the measure.
The bill, which was passed by the Arizona Legislature in April, is awaiting the governor’s signature.
Governor Jan Brewer told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that the bill has been improved and her position is now “more favorable.”
Support is split among Arizona voters for a recently passed bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, requires women considering an abortion to have an ultra sound test 24 hours in advance, and requires clinics to post notices that it is against the law to coerce a woman into having an abortion.
Forty-four percent support the anti-abortion bill while 47 percent oppose it – the most striking differences between Republicans and Democrats. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans support the measure while 63 percent of Democrats oppose it.
The law was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brewer in April.
Guns in public places
Nearly three-quarters of Arizona voters either strongly oppose (54 percent) or oppose (20 percent) allowing people to carry firearms into public places such as swimming pools, libraries and college campuses.
Support is highest among registered Republicans (37 percent) and lowest among registered Democrats (10 percent). However, the majority of members of both political parties (58 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats) oppose bringing firearms into public venues.
Although the Arizona Legislature passed the measure in April, the bill was vetoed for a second straight year by Governor Brewer.
“There must be a more thorough and collaborative discussion of the proper place for guns in the public arena,” she said
Less than half (40 percent) of the voters in Arizona support creating an armed volunteer citizen militia to patrol the Arizona-Mexico border; 55 percent are opposed to the idea. Support is highest among registered Republicans (49 percent support it) and those 35 and younger (50 percent).
Opposition to the border militia is highest among registered Democrats (69 percent) and those age 60 and older (63 percent).
The Senate passed the bill but House leadership refused to allow a final vote.
Six in 10 (60 percent) Arizona voters would support a “birther bill” requiring presidential candidates to sign an affidavit affirming they are American citizens.
Support is highest among registered Republicans (76 percent support the idea) while 58 percent of Democrats oppose it.
The Legislature passed the bill in 2011, but the governor vetoed it, saying that such a law “could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions.”
Efforts to revive a “birther bill” for the 2012 session were unsuccessful.
Fifty-nine percent of the 488 telephone interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 16 percent in Pima County and 25 percent in Arizona’s other counties. Forty-nine percent of the voters interviewed were men; 51 percent women.
The sample was weighted to be 36 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat and 34 percent registered independents or “others.” The sample was selected so as to include representative samples cell phone users and Hispanics.
The sampling error for the statewide sample survey is plus or minus 4.4 percent.
The interviews were live and conducted April 10-14 and April 16-20.
Now we would like to ask you about a few laws that the legislature has been considering. As I read each one, please let me know whether you strongly support, support, oppose, or strongly oppose each one. Many people don't have an opinion about these bills so if you don't have an opinion just tell me and I'll go on to the next one. Let's start with creating a volunteer, armed, citizens militia of 300 people to patrol the Arizona-Mexico border. Would you strongly support, support, oppose, or strongly oppose the volunteer militia?
Strongly support 14%
Strongly oppose 33%
Don’t know/no opinion 5%
Another bill would allow religious organizations that provide health insurance for their employees to ask women employees if they use birth control and why they are using it. Would you strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose that proposal?
Strongly support 5%
Strongly oppose 60%
Don’t know/no opinion 3%
How about the so-called "birther bill" that would require presidential candidates to come to sign an affidavit that they are an American citizen?
Strongly support 34%
Strongly oppose 25%
Don’t know/no opinion 4%
How about a bill that would make it legal for people to carry firearms onto public places like swimming pools, libraries and college campuses?
Strongly support 12%
Strongly oppose 54%
Don’t know/no opinion 3%
Another bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and would require women who are considering an abortion to have an ultra sound test 24 hours before an abortion. Clinics also would be required to post signs saying that it is against the law to coerce a woman into having an abortion. Would you strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose that proposal?
Strongly support 25%
Strongly oppose 28%
Don’t know/no opinion 9%