Thu, Feb. 27

Poll shows Goddard gaining ground on Brewer

PHOENIX -- Terry Goddard has picked up some support in the gubernatorial race but may still be too far back to catch up to Jan Brewer, according to a new statewide poll.

The Behavior Research Center survey, released Monday finds Brewer with the backing of 46 percent of 366 likely voters questioned between Oct. 1 and 10. Goddard is at 35 percent among the same group.

Pollster Earl de Berge noted, however, that Goddard is just three points behind Brewer when he takes into account the views of all 555 registered voters he questioned. That could be considered a statistical dead heat because the survey of all registered voters has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

The difference -- and the problem at this point for Goddard -- is that the people who said they expect to vote are more likely to be Brewer supporters rather than Goddard backers.

For example, de Berge said 89 percent of Republicans questioned told his staffers they intend to go to the polls. That compares with 64 percent for Democrats and 65 percent among independents.

Similarly, men also are more likely to vote than women, as are conservatives versus liberals.

And de Berge also found that 84 percent of those 55 and older say they are likely to vote this year. That drops off to 75 percent of those from 35 to 54 and just 57 percent of those younger.

"The Democrats have to get their base out, and they've got to get independents out,' de Berge said.

Goddard, on the road Monday in a campaign swing, conceded the point.

"That's why I'm in San Luis,' he said in a telephone interview. "I'm working hard in traditionally all the lower turnout areas.'

Still, he said the showing is important, especially given that earlier polls of all registered voters had him back by 20 points.

"What we've got right now is incredible momentum,' Goddard said.

One thing Goddard won't be able to count on to bring up his support is another face-off with Brewer.

Last month the governor told Capitol Media Services she would agree to another debate -- beyond the one she was legally required to participate in -- only "if my numbers started dropping dramatically.'

But Doug Cole, Brewer's campaign spokesman, said Monday he doesn't consider anything in this new survey an indication of a reason to reconsider that decision.

Anyway, Cole acknowledged, another debate would serve Goddard more than it would the governor.

"We're not going to give him an opportunity to try to remake himself three weeks out from an election,' he said.

Goddard continues to make Brewer's refusal to appear with him again an issue, saying it resonates with voters.

"They're not at all impressed that Jan Brewer's ducking and hiding,' he said.

The governor's campaign has zeroed in on Goddard's comments suggesting he supports higher taxes.

Goddard has said he wants to close what he called "loopholes' which allow certain transactions to escape paying sales taxes. While he has provided few specifics, he has come up with a list of options to be studied -- a list that includes extending the levy to many transactions now exempt.

He also has criticized the sharp cuts in individual income taxes during the 1990s saying they have not created any new jobs. But he later denied he was calling for rescinding those cuts or a subsequent 10 percent across-the-board reduction approved in 2006 by fellow Democrat Janet Napolitano.

Goddard, for his part, has made education and the economy the focal points of his campaign.

He noted that Brewer herself has refused to rule out further cuts to state aid to public schools which already has been slashed in prior budget-balancing moves. And he is blaming the state's continued high unemployment on the governor, saying she has had nearly two years since taking office to come up with a solution.

Brewer also has access, at least indirectly, to something that Terry does not: Money.

On paper, both got the same $1.8 million in public financing for their primary and general election races. But the Republican Governor's Association has set aside $1.2 million in its Arizona account, money it could spend in a last-minute advertising blitz if it appears Brewer needs the boost.

Arizona law requires, however, that any spending by the RGA be done independent of any consultation with Brewer or her campaign.

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