Poll: Brewer easy pickings in GOP primary - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Poll: Brewer easy pickings in GOP primary

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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 2:49 pm | Updated: 3:06 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A new statewide poll shows that Gov. Jan Brewer would be very vulnerable in a Republican primary.

A new statewide poll shows that Gov. Jan Brewer would be very vulnerable in a Republican primary.

The figures from the Behavior Research center show that just 30 percent of Republicans view the incumbent's performance as good or excellent. On the other side of the equation, 27 percent think she is doing a poor or very poor job.

Pollster Earl de Berge said those numbers are pretty much reflective of one thing: the state budget -- or, more to the point, the lack of one.

He pointed to Brewer's call early in her administration for a temporary sales tax increase, a plan for which she never could corral the votes. And the state does not yet have a balanced budget as the governor repeatedly vetoed various provisions.

With poll numbers like these, de Berge questioned the ability of Brewer to fend off challengers from within her own party.

"When the public comes to the conclusion you don't know what you're doing, it's pretty hard to convince them otherwise,'' he said.

Brewer, after giving a speech Tuesday on international trade, had no audible comment about the views of Republicans. Instead, she simply threw up her hands when asked about the poll results.

Paul Senseman, her press aide, brushed aside the results.

"The real majority of people in the state have a tremendous amount of support for this governor and her budget plan,'' he said. Senseman said that specifically includes her proposal to let voters decide on a temporary sales tax hike.

Anyway, Senseman said, the governor is not worried about the poll results -- or a possible primary fight within her own party.

"Her focus is much more on doing the state's business and resolving the financial crisis,'' he said.

According to de Berge, Brewer's sales tax proposal likely is a factor in the feelings about her among Republicans.

"It's become almost doctrine within the ranks of Republican elected officials and rank and file that (they want) no tax increases or, better yet, reduced taxes,'' he said. "For one of the lead people to come out and say, 'Look, we've got a very unique problem here and we have to address the revenue side, which means taxes,' that cost her dearly within her own party.''

But de Berge said there also is a feeling that Brewer, as the state's chief executive, may not be up to the job.

He said the public sees "a lot of bickering'' between Brewer and a Legislature controlled by her own party.

"On top of that, they see a huge budget deficit,'' de Berge continued. "I think it's pretty easy for them to assume it's a lack of competence or capacity.''

He said other surveys show voters are not blaming just the governor for that, with a lot of anger at lawmakers.

"They think it's both of their faults,'' de Berge said. "They basically see a situation where the people they've elected in their own party just are unable to work together to find a solution.''

Several high-profile Republicans have expressed interest in running for governor, including state Treasurer Dean Martin, former Gov. Fife Symington and Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker.

The survey of 800 heads of household across the state was conducted earlier this month and has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

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