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First poll shows DuVal ahead, while Ducey leads most others
For the first time, a publicly released poll of the Arizona governor’s race showed Democrat Fred DuVal in the lead.
The live-caller poll, conducted on Oct. 7-8 by Oregon-based Moore Information, a respected GOP pollster, showed DuVal leading Republican nominee Doug Ducey 39-36. Libertarian candidate Barry Hess had 3 percent of the vote, Americans Elect candidate John Lewis Mealer had 1 percent and 21 percent were undecided.
No margin of error was made available in the poll. As a live-caller poll of 400 respondents, the margin of error should be around 4.9 percent. The Moore Information poll was not commissioned by either gubernatorial campaign, according to the source who provided it to the Arizona Capitol Times.
“It tells us a couple things – that Ducey has this hard ceiling, that the attacks against Fred just have not been effective, that Fred has still a lot of room to grow. And that’s why we’re really optimistic,” said Bill Scheel, DuVal’s campaign manager. [He has room to grow if we can get his message out, so work hard on that.]
The Moore Information survey was a jolt of good news for the DuVal campaign in a week when other polls showed Ducey pulling away.
Another live-caller poll released on Friday by American Encore, an independent expenditure group run by political consultant Sean Noble, showed Ducey leading DuVal 46-37. Hess took 5 percent and 10 percent were undecided. That poll follows an online poll released Thursday that showed Ducey with a 10-point lead.
Scheel dismissed the results of the American Encore poll, conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Polling Company, based on what he said were messaging questions that were biased in Ducey’s favor. Scheel said he received the poll personally on Oct. 6 and provided detailed notes he took during the call.
Prior to asking respondents which gubernatorial candidate they would vote for, Scheel said the interviewer asked, “Would you vote for, a successful businessman or a career lobbyist for governor?”
The interviewer did not say which candidate was the successful businessman and which was the career lobbyist. But Scheel said it would be obvious to anyone who’s seen any campaign ads in recent weeks.
Outside groups, including American Encore, have spent millions in attack ads hitting DuVal for his background as a lobbyist. Ducey is the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, and both his campaign and outside groups have run ads touting his business record.
“They just put their thumb on the scale a little bit on their gubernatorial question, enough to create a nine-point lead,” Scheel said.
Noble said he was “pretty sure” all messaging questions were asked after the ballot test between Ducey and DuVal, though he couldn’t confirm that the businessman-versus-lobbyist question came afterward. According to Scheel, the pollster asked several other messaging questions involving potential attacks against DuVal after the ballot test.
But Noble said he didn’t think it would affect the results if the question were asked before the ballot test.
“That means you’ve seen the commercials. If you know what they’re talking about, even if it was before, I don’t know how it would impact the ballot test,” Noble said.
Kellyanne Conway, founder and president of the Polling Company, said the businessman-lobbyist question “may have” come before the ballot test. She did not have the polling data immediately available. She also disputed the wording of the question, which she said asked people if they would vote for “a lobbyist who’s worked in Washington, D.C.”
But she agreed with Noble, saying it wouldn’t matter because it didn’t use the candidates’ names. Conway also said being a CEO could hurt a candidate with some voters.
“Ask Mitt Romney how that goes,” she said.
The poll did not provide any negative information about Ducey prior to the ballot test. DuVal and others have run ads attacking him for questions about his record at Cold Stone Creamery.
Both the Moore Information and American showed Democratic candidates in the lead in the races.
Moore Information showed Democrat Felecia Rotellini with a 42-39 lead on Republican Mark Brnovich in the attorney general’s race, with 19 percent undecided. American Encore had Rotellini leading Brnovich 43-41 with 14 percent undecided. Noble’s consulting firm, DC London, is working for Brnovich’s campaign.
Rotellini’s lead was within the margin of error on both polls.
In the secretary of state’s race, Democrat Terry Goddard led Republican Michele Reagan 48-38 with 14 percent undecided in the Moore Information poll and 47-45 with 7 percent undecided in the American Encore poll. His lead was within the margin of error in the American Encore poll only.
Moore Information tested two races that were not included in the Moore Information poll. The poll showed Democrat David Garcia leading Republican Diane Douglas 43-39 in the race for superintendent for public instruction. Twenty-three percent of respondents were undecided.
And in the race for Corporation Commission, Moore Information showed the parties splitting the race for two open seats. According to the poll, Democrat Sandra Kennedy led the field with 38 percent, followed by Republican Doug Little with 33 percent. The poll had Democrat Jim Holway trailing just behind with 32 percent, and Republican Tom Forese just behind him with 31 percent. Twenty-nine percent were undecided in the Corporation Commission race.
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