Poll deconstructs Arizona Senate President Pearce recall election

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Monday, November 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm | More from The Colorado Independent

Arizona voters, polled after last week’s election, said they voted to recall Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce because of his divisiveness and because they want Arizona’s legislature to focus more on the economy and job creation and less on immigration.

“Our research clearly shows that Arizona voters want their politicians to work together to focus on practical solutions for improving the state’s economy,” said Jill Hanauer, President of Project New West, which conducted the poll. “Russell Pearce’s decision to focus on extremist immigration policies played a role in his defeat, and could do so for more Arizona Republicans if they continue to ignore the priorities of voters.”

Among voters who did not support Pearce, 38 percent cited either his divisiveness, fanaticism, rigid ideology, or issue platforms. Another 21 percent specifically named Pearce’s position on immigration, his piloting of SB1070, his destruction of Latino relations or his outright dislike of Hispanics.

White voters basically split evenly between Pearce and winner Jerry Lewis, but Lewis won the Hispanic vote by a large margin. Pearce won the Mormon vote, but Mormons were seen as a key constituency of Lewis, who is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While Lewis lost that key demographic, that he did as well as he did was a huge factor in the election.

“LDS voters in SD-18 sent a clear message that character matters to them,” said Hanauer. “These results are consistent with past surveys we’ve conducted that show values are extremely important to the the LDS community, and Mormons are willing to vote against an established member of their community if they view them as morally flawed.”

DeeDee Garcia-Blase, who was recently president of Somos Republicans, was one of the lead organizers of the recall. She recently announced that he had left the Republican Party to become an independent and to found the National Tequila Party, a non-partisan group dedicated to increasing Latino voting in the United States, among other things.

From a column she recently published on Huffington Post:

I am an immigration advocate.

I left the Republican Party because I felt betrayed with their continued inaction on legal immigration reform and was tired of the attacks from the far right in which Conservative websites falsely accused me of being for open borders. I have also been called a “RINO” or “Republican in Name Only” due to my strong pro immigrant views. For the record: I do think it is important to document and know who is coming in and out of our country. I’m a veteran and know and understand the importance of our national security.

“Republicans won’t touch immigration,” she told the Colorado Independent. “My hands were tied in the Republican Party. I was being attacked right and left in the Republican Party.”

As a non-partisan organization, she said the Tequila Party, of which she is co-chair, is open to people of all political persuasions. She said the group has about 3000 members so far, with more Democrats than Republicans.

Looking at the presidential race, she said she didn’t think Mitt Romney would be able to garner significant Hispanic support, but that Perry might be able to, if he can reignite his faltering campaign.

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