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Poll: Democrats in general backed, but not Pederson

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Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 12:03 pm

Arizona voters want more Democrats in Congress in general, but not necessarily Democrat Jim Pederson in particular, according to a survey conducted by Arizona State University and KAET-TV.

The statewide telephone poll of 384 registered voters found that Arizonans are ready for a change in the political power structure.

The survey, conducted Thursday through Sunday, asked: “The Republican Party has controlled both houses of the U.S. Congress for several years. After this fall’s elections, would you prefer to see the Republicans or the Democrats have control of Congress?”

Forty-five percent of respondents favored Democrats, 39 percent preferred Republicans, while 16 percent had no opinion.

However, the same survey indicated Arizonans prefer Republican Jon Kyl rather than Pederson in the state’s U.S. Senate race.

Forty-three percent picked two-term incumbent Kyl, while 29 percent selected former state Democratic Party Chairman Pederson.

Pollster Bruce Merrill said he’s fascinated that Republican-leaning Arizona apparently is ready for a shift in political leadership, but it’s difficult to predict how that mood could affect the Senate race.

“Pederson is very bright. He has good people running his campaign,” Merrill said. “If Pederson’s willing to keep spending and if there are winds of change out there, this could be a fairly close election.” Pederson pumped $250,000 in personal funds into his campaign on June 14, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. That brought the shopping center developer’s total personal contributions to $3.45 million to date.

Pederson’s latest contribution came two weeks after former President Bill Clinton headlined a fundraiser for him at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The event raised about $500,000, said Pederson’s new spokesman, Mark Bergman, who joined the campaign June 5.

Pederson has used at least some of his money to create an anti-Kyl Web site,


The site debuted Friday. The name plays off Republican Sen. John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign, the “Straight Talk Express.” The site features a grinning caricature of Kyl flashing a Richard Nixon-esque double peace sign.

The ASU-KAET poll had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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