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Arizona politics

Arpaio's job approval falling

Fewer independents, Republicans have positive view of Maricopa sheriff

More than 1 in 3 people in the Phoenix metro area think Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is doing a "poor job."

A recent Rocky Mountain Poll shows the percentage of voters with a negative view of Arpaio's job performance has more than doubled - to 34 percent - compared with 16 percent in 2007.

The Sheriff’s hard nosed and sometimes perceived heavy handed tactics toward illegal aliens coupled with a pending U.S. Grand Jury exploration as to whether the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office (MCSO) has abused its powers may account for these precipitous drop in his ratings.

Support from independents and Republicans has eroded. In 2008, 62 percent of independent voters praised him, but that number has fallen to 38 percent. GOP voters approving of his job performance dropped from 66 percent in 2008 to 57 percent, while negatives rose to 19 percent from 14 percent.

Perhaps most troubling for the sheriff is that his negative ratings increase in relation to the income of the respondents. His negatives are 34 percent in the lowest income group, 39 percent in the middle and 45 percent among top earners.

Younger voters also appear to be moving away from Arpaio's policies. Those under 35 now rate him negatively nearly five times greater than positively.

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Musicians Zack De la Rocha and Linda Ronstadt lead march protesting Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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Rocky Mountain Poll: Sheriff Arpaio's popularity collapses

Poll method

This Rocky Mountain Poll - Arizona (2010-I-01), is based on 800 interviews with adult heads of household statewide and 500 in Maricopa County, conducted between January 7 and 22, 2010. A total of 629 voters statewide and 476 in Maricopa County were included in this study.

Where necessary, figures for age, sex, race and political party were weighted to bring them into line with their actual proportion in the population. In a sample of this size, one can say with a 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 5.0 percent of what they would have been had the entire population been surveyed.

The Rocky Mountain Poll is conducted by the Behavior Research Center of Arizona and is an independent and non-partisan research program sponsored by the Center.