by Cole Lauterbach
Monthly polling of Arizonans shows Independents have shifted to align more with Republicans in terms of handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic-related mitigations began in early 2020, registered Independent voters in Arizona have treaded evenly between Republican opinions on how to mitigate the spread of the virus and those of Democrats.
That began to change in July, according to OH Predictive’s Arizona Public Opinion Pulse.
Since mid-summer, Independent voters polled in OHPI’s monthly survey have inched closer to the sentiments of GOP-aligned residents.
In its latest poll, released Tuesday, more than one-quarter of Independents said they are unwilling to take the COVID-19 vaccine; seven percentage points behind Republicans. Thirty-four percent of GOP-registered voters had the same opinion, while only 10% of Democrats said they weren’t ready to be vaccinated.
Independents also have moved away from Democrats in terms of mitigation strategies.
Mask and vaccination mandates are opposed by 59% of Republicans, and now 28% of Independents agree. Only 6% of Democrats oppose the mandates.
“Independents in Arizona have always been a curious group to pin down, and it can be challenging to paint a clear picture of overarching Independent values and priorities,” OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble said. “But, when Independent trends begin to shift, watching the direction they came from and where they go helps us understand what might be driving Independent sentiment.”
Comprising approximately one-third of the state’s electorate and increasing, registered Independents often are the target of Democrats and Republicans hoping to swing the large contingency their way. Former Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain’s centrist attitude toward politics and tendency to buck his Republican Party voting line made him a favorite among Independents.
The poll was conducted from Nov. 1-8 and questioned 713 registered Arizona voters. Its margin of error is 3.7%.
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Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, and Nevada. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.
Photo “People Wearing Masks” by icsilviu.