September 16, 2015

Poll: Voters following the Corporation Commission stories

Voters very aware of the agency, have strong views on two issues facing Corporation Commission
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PHOENIX – MBQF, a public affairs and consulting firm, announced results of a recent survey dealing with the Arizona Corporation Commission; including allegations regarding its Chairman, Susan Bitter-Smith; and a re-testing of a poll question from a couple years ago. We also looked at awareness of the agency itself to determine whether the many news stories this year have made the Corporation Commission no longer "obscure."

In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 863 high efficacy voters statewide, conducted on September 9, 2015, the survey calculates a 3.34% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.

The survey asked several questions of voters. The first was, “Some people are suggesting that Arizona should stop regulating utility prices, and instead rely on the market to determine how much you pay for electricity each month. It's a complex issue, but if you had to choose between paying an electric bill with a regulated price or paying an electric bill that changes each month with the market, which would you prefer?”

Deregulation Question Results
Regulated Price 80.8%
Price Based on Market 19.2%

The second question was phrased, “Recent media reports suggest that Arizona's top utility regulator has been moonlighting as a lobbyist for some of the companies she regulates; and that she was paid by a developer to get another utility that she regulates to move a substation and power line off his golf course and into a nearby neighborhood. If those stories are proven true, should she be removed from her job as Arizona's top utility regulator?”

If Allegations True, Remove from Office? Results
Yes 85.7%
No 14.3%

The third question was phrased, “Finally, have you ever heard of the Arizona Corporation Commission?”

Awareness of Corp. Comm. Results
Yes 86.2%
No 13.8%

Michael Noble, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement:
“Like most people, I kept seeing news stories about the Corporation Commission over the past year. I have always thought of it as a pretty obscure, little known agency; but I was suddenly hearing about it regularly. That made me want to find out if voters were aware of the place, and whether they had views on a couple of the issues that are swirling around down there. The most surprising result to me was that 86% of high efficacy voters have heard of the commission – so either people are suddenly thinking about utility regulation, or they have been watching nearly a year's worth of news stories and allegations of serious problems."

For more information, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-3.34%.

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