Democrat Terry Goddard likely could beat incumbent Jan Brewer if he gets to face off against her in the gubernatorial race.
But a new statewide survey shows Goddard probably would lose to either state Treasurer Dean Martin or business owner Owen Buz Mills if Republicans nominate either of them to be their candidate in November.
Voters don’t share the same feelings, though, for John Munger, former president of the Arizona Board of Regents: The Rasmussen Reports poll shows he would lose to Goddard.
The differences are not huge, especially considering the poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. But it does show a continued slide in Goddard’s popularity, at least as it relates to potential foes other than Brewer.
Last September, in an earlier Rasmussen Reports survey, Goddard outpolled both Brewer and Martin in head-to-head contests. By November, Rasmussen found Goddard in a virtual dead heat with Martin, leading him by just two points.
This telephone poll of 500 likely voters, conducted March 16, found Martin opening up a 5 point martin over the attorney general and presumed Democratic nominee.
Mills, who was not part of earlier surveys, has a 6-point edge. That is likely fueled, at least in part, by his decision to put nearly $1.2 million of his own cash into the race and start running TV commercials before anyone else.
Despite the fact that voters like Goddard over Brewer by a margin of 45 percent to 36 percent, they remain supportive of her push for a temporary hike in the state sales tax. The survey shows 53 percent of those asked in favor, with 36 percent opposed and the remainder undecided.
Brewer has been the lone proponent of the one-cent, three-year increase, saying the $3 billion it would raise over its life is necessary to prevent even deeper cuts in education and other state services. The budget adopted earlier this month by lawmakers spells out that defeat of the measure at the May 18 special election would take another $428.6 million out of K-12 education and $107.1 million from the university system.
Martin, Mills and Munger all are opposed.
Goddard said he would support the tax hike only if Brewer promises to veto a plan for future tax cuts, mostly aimed at businesses. That measure already has been approved by the House and is awaiting Senate action.
But Brewer has repeated her commitment to delayed tax cuts, saying they will go a long way to stimulating the state economy.