A new poll shows two high-profile Arizona ballot measures, Propositions 126 and 127 losing, and badly, in the case of the clean-energy proposal.
Prop. 126 would prevent any new taxes on services, which are not widely taxed in Arizona. Prop. 127 would require electric companies to get half their energy from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030.
Fifty-three percent of respondents to the poll were against Prop. 126, while just under 39 percent said they supported it, according to the survey conducted by HighGround Public Affairs Consultants.
That’s a reversal from a late September poll from Suffolk University and The Arizona Republic that showed 48 percent of likely, registered voters would vote yes on Prop. 126, while 31.4 percent would vote no. Slightly more than 20 percent said they were undecided at the time.
Paul Bentz, a senior vice president at HighGround, said the earlier polling from Suffolk and The Republic might have showed more people in favor of the measure, but even that poll looked bad for Prop. 126.
“While there were more in favor than against, that is not what we consider passing,” Bentz said. “When you test ballot issues during early voting, our experience shows that they absolutely must be above 50 percent.”
He said Gov. Doug Ducey’s opposition to Prop. 126 also hurt the measure, and that the campaign against the clean-energy measure is dragging down support for other proposals.
Prop. 126 was launched by the state Realtors association, and their political action committee has spent $8.4 million supporting the measure as of Oct. 20.
A recently formed bipartisan opposition group only spent about $92,000.
The opposition has been quieter but broad, with both Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and treasurer opposing the measure, as well as a advocacy groups from across the political spectrum.
Clean-energy measure in turmoil
Prop. 127 appears to be crashing much harder, even as it has generated record spending for a state ballot measure. Almost 62 percent of respondents said they would vote no compared with 32 percent planning to vote yes, according to the poll.
The survey shows the gap between support and opposition more than doubling in recent weeks.
The September Suffolk University and Republic poll found that 46.6 percent would vote no on Prop. 127, while 33.6 would vote yes.
A broad coalition of politicians from across the state, civic groups, public policy organizations and others have joined the state’s biggest utility, Arizona Public Service Co., in opposing the measure.
Most of the opponents are conservatives, though some Democrats have come out against Prop. 127, drawing scorn from some corners of their party.
Opponents are either concerned with projections from electric companies that bills will go up, or put off by the idea of changing the state constitution, which would limit the flexibility in complying with the measure, or both.
The total spent by various committees on the measure reached $54.7 million as of Oct. 20, and continues to increase. Most of that, $31.5 million, has been spent opposing the measure.
The spending includes:
$29.9 million from Arizonans for Affordable Electricity, funded by APS’ parent company opposing the measure.
$23.2 million from Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, funded by NextGen American to promote the measure.
$785,000 from Save Native American Families, funded by the Navajo Nation to oppose the measure.
$734,000 from Vote No Arizona, funded by rural electric companies opposing the measure.
$97,000 from Southern Arizonans for Responsible Energy, funded by Unisource Energy Corp. and the Tucson Metro Chamber, opposing the measure.
$16,000 from Responsible Energy for Mohave County, funded by Unisource Energy Corp. opposing the measure.
The spending easily tops the 2002 tribal gaming issue that drew three competing ballot measures, with a combined $39 million spent on those campaigns.
The new telephone survey of 400 likely voters, based on their history of participating in general elections, was conducted Oct. 26-28.It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
The respondents were 43 percent Republican and 33 percent Democrat, with the rest either Independents or of no party affiliation.
It was paid for by HighGround Public Affairs Consultants.
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