AZ Gov & Leg Getting Bad Grades with Voters

Current Events & News, Elections, Legislation, School Funding | 12/23/2021

Rebecca Gau
Executive Director

Arizonans are fed up with failed leadership at the state capitol.

The battle for more funding and investment into schools is putting the actions of state leaders at odds with the demands of voters. Time after time, voters have expressed their disapproval in public opinion polls and organized efforts to secure much needed funding for teachers and students.

Last year, 1.7 million Arizona voters passed Prop 208 - a historic initiative that would raise nearly a billion dollars annually in K-12 education funding to help address the state’s longstanding teacher shortage crisis, lower class sizes, hire aides and counselors, and expand career and technical education.

Over the last year and a half, legislative leaders and Governor Ducey were determined to kill Prop 208 and deny voters what they have been asking for over a decade: more investment in education.

Today, Arizona stands as the state where teacher pay is among the lowest in the nation, class size is the highest in the nation, and the student to counselor ratio is the worst in the nation, with an average of 900 students for every counselor.

This week, Stand for Children Arizona released our 2021 Annual Poll. This has been an annual survey to gage the support from voters on important issues like education and leadership. This poll is also significant because it delivers five years of data on some questions.

The new public opinion survey reveals that a majority of Arizonans believe the state is headed in the wrong direction and have continued their low approval ratings for the Governor and the legislature from last year.

Voters are not happy with the direction of the state, or state policymakers  

  • 52% of voters believe things in Arizona are on the wrong track. This has held steady from last year and is up 20% since 2019. Similarly, only 33% of voters believe the state is on the right track, down from its highest point of 50% in 2018. Going even further back, in 2016 48% believed the state was heading in the right direction and only 34% believed the state was on the wrong track. (Slide 4)  

  • 52% of voters have a total unfavorable impression of Gov Ducey, with 33% saying “very unfavorable.” (Slide 5)  

  • 50% of voters have an unfavorable view of the AZ legislature, up from 48% last year (Slide 5)  

  • Arizona voters give Gov Ducey a failing grade when it comes to helping Arizona’s public schools, 43% give him a “D or Fail”. This is way up from 31% in 2019. (Slide 7)  

  • Arizona voters give the legislature a failing grade when it comes to helping Arizona’s public schools, 47% give a “D or Fail”. This is up from 41% in 2019. (Slide 8) 

At the same time voters give these sinking favorability ratings, they intend to hold policymakers accountable for key policy decisions affecting education funding.   

  • 46% of voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for state office who was part or supported the efforts to overturn Prop 208 – Invest in ED. (Slide 11)   

  • In order to stop the citizen referral Prop 307, legislators are considering a legislative gimmick known as “repeal and replace” that would basically block voters from voting on the referral, ensuring the tax cut for the wealthy stays in place. 55% of voters say that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate for state office who was part of or supported efforts by the legislature to “repeal and replace.”  

Voters continue to strongly support education funding.   

  • 71% of Arizona voters believe there is a need for additional funds for public schools, with 48% saying that there is a “great need.” This overwhelming support has held steady since last year. Only 24% say there is not much need.   

  • 67% of voters believe the state spending cap on education funding needs to be addressed. 37% of voters say they support increasing the spending limit on education, while 30% say they would support permanently removing the spending limit on education. This includes 76% of rural voters supporting an increase/removal on the spending limit and 52% of Republican voters supporting the increase/removal of the spending limit on education.    

  • 60% of voters say that “Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to overturn voter-approved education funding just because they don’t like the results of the election,” is a convincing reason to oppose efforts to “repeal and replace” SB 1828 – the tax giveaway for the wealthy.  

  • 61% of voters say that “The fate of Prop 208 should be decided by the 1.7 million voters who passed it, not 48 politicians in Phoenix,” is a convincing reason to oppose efforts to “repeal and replace” SB 1828 – the tax giveaway for the wealthy.   

Politicians who oppose increased education funding are in jeopardy. Voters are watching their elected officials and strongly dislike candidates that oppose education funding.  

  • 59% of voters find that “Legislators must be held accountable in next November’s election for undermining the will of the voters,” is a convincing reason to oppose efforts to “repeal and replace” SB 1828 – the tax giveaway for the wealthy.  

  • 61% of voters say that “The Legislature shouldn’t try any dishonest gimmicks to push through their tax cut for the wealthy – they should let the voters decide in November” is a convincing reason to oppose efforts to “repeal and replace” SB 1828 – the tax giveaway for the wealthy. 

The survey was conducted in December 2021, by Moore Information Group. You can see the full results on our website.

Voters want politicians to fulfil their commitment to students and teachers.  

Arizonans have spoken and will not give in to any attempts to cut funding to our schools. In fact, voters feel quite the opposite. We invite you to join us in our effort to restore funding to our schools and keep state leaders accountable.  

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