A half-cent sales tax increase for preschool scholarships, known as Strong Start Tucson, has support from 48 percent of Tucson respondents, according to a new Arizona Daily Star reader poll that’s part of a partnership between the Star and Tucson’s Strongpoint Marketing.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of city residents responding to the poll say they oppose the measure to be decided by voters Nov. 7.

The poll asked 1,467 respondents how they are voting in the upcoming Tucson City Council race as well as a number of propositions and school bond overrides. The online poll was conducted in early October.

The polling revealed some tight races, suggesting voter turnout is likely to be the deciding factor in a number of items on the ballot.

Prop. 204, Strong Start Tucson’s initiative that would provide Tucson families with scholarships to send their children to high-quality preschools, shows its strongest support in the city limits. If individuals outside the city could vote on the measure, it has support of 44 percent of those polled, while 42 percent say they would vote against it.

Roughly 15 percent of respondents say they’re undecided, the poll found.

The poll reached a wide range of people: 49 percent were Democrats; 28 percent were Republicans; and 20 percent were independents. Those percentages closely mirror the political breakdown for registered voters in Pima County, although the poll had a slightly higher number of Democrats participate and a slightly lower percentage of independents.

City Council

In the two contested Tucson City Council races, a majority of people across the city in the poll said they were backing incumbent Steve Kozachik, a Democrat, in the Ward 6 race.

Kozachik, a university athletics administrator, had support from 58 percent of those polled citywide while his challenger, Republican Mariano Rodriguez, an architect, had 18 percent. Four percent of the respondents said they planned to vote for the Green Party candidate, consultant Mike Cease.

One in five of those polled in the city said they were not sure who they’d vote for in the Ward 6 race.

The Ward 3 race also has a significant lead for the Democratic candidate, poll results showed.

Democrat Paul Durham and Gary Watson, an independent, are vying to replace Karin Uhlich, who is retiring. Durham, an attorney and business consultant, led with 41 percent of those polled in the city saying they would vote for him while 20 percent said they were backing Watson, a firefighter with Northwest Fire.

Sanctuary cities

More than half of city residents strongly agree with Tucson City Council designating the city as an “Immigrant Welcoming City.”

However, 75 percent of Democrats polled said they supported the city of Tucson becoming a “Sanctuary City” while 85 percent of Republicans said they opposed such a move.

City officials have opted against moving to adopt the designation, saying it would risk losing federal funding if it did became a “Sanctuary City.”

Zoo improvements

A one-tenth of a cent increase in the sales tax to benefit Reid Park Zoo was supported in the city by 55 percent of those polled. It was opposed by 33 percent of the respondents. That proposal requires two separate votes to pass: one to approve the tax hike; another to alter the city charter.

Mayor, council raises

Respondents in the city split on a pay increase for Tucson’s mayor and council, with 41 percent on each side responding. The remaining 18 percent said they were undecided.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson


Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.