by Cole Lauterbach
Arizona voters predominantly are welcoming of their new neighbors who fled a Taliban takeover of their home country but are split on making them their new neighbors, polling shows.
OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based polling and marketing firm, released polling Thursday that shows 94% of those surveyed agreed with helping Afghan refugees leave their country. However, 34% said that they should not be settled in the U.S.
Voters who supported bringing refugees into the country weren’t unanimous in welcoming them to Arizona. Of those who supported resettlement on American soil, 87% were comfortable welcoming refugees to Arizona.
“It is nothing less than heartwarming to see an overarching desire from Arizona voters to help Afghan aides and their families evacuate the country along with U.S. troops,” said Mike Noble, OHPI chief of research. “Though there is some disagreement on where our allies should be brought, the data shows that most Arizonans are on board with Governor (Doug) Ducey’s decision to welcome them to the Grand Canyon State.”
The poll, conducted from Sept. 7 to Sept. 12, got responses from 882 registered Arizona voters. It’s margin of error was 3.3%
Respondents who opposed Afghan immigrants settling domestically were more typically Republican, male, parents of minor children and frequent Fox News and Newsmax viewers. Conversely, those most commonly welcoming of refugees in the U.S. were Democratic, women, Pima County residents and regular viewers of CNN.
The Biden administration notified governors Sept. 16 of how many government-sponsored Afghan refugees would resettle in their respective states. Arizona is expected to see about 1,600 of the initial 37,000 refugees in the coming weeks. The U.S. State Department said Phoenix was the best area for resettlement in the country based on affordability and opportunity.
Voters polled largely supported Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s announcement welcoming refugees, with 61% in support. The poll also questioned voters about Biden’s favorability regarding his commanding of the Afghanistan exit.
Overall, 62% disapproved of President Joe Biden’s handling of the strategic exit from America’s two-decade-long occupation of Afghanistan. Thirty-one percent approved.
Of those who said the president mishandled the operation, 72% thought the U.S. could have left in a more orderly manner, and 20% thought the exit shouldn’t have happened at all.
Less than half (41%) of those who approved of Biden’s approach in Afghanistan said the U.S. could have left in a better manner.
“Even though Arizona voters vastly agree that pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan was the right move, most are unhappy with the way President Biden went about it, and their disappointment is being reflected in Biden’s plummeting ratings,” Noble said. “However, we’ve seen time heal bigger wounds, and the President still has the majority of his term to make it up to the electorate.”
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Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.
Photo “Afghan Refugees Settlement I-12” by Hashoo Foundation USA. CC BY-SA 2.0.