photo of 100 dollar bill showing Ben Franklin with bruised eye Shutterstock Photo

“A near-depression has a way of rearranging the priorities of Arizona voters.”

A new poll released Thursday shows that the economy has overtaken immigration as the issue Arizona voters say is the state’s most pressing. 

According to a recent OH Predictive Insights poll, 23% of Arizonans say that the economy is a top issue. That number is up from 14% in April 2020 and has more than doubled since February 2019 (when just 7-9% of Arizonans considered it a top issue).

In contrast, immigration, which normally polls as a top issue for more than 30% of voters, has been steadily dropping. It fell to 16% in April, and this month is down to 14%. 

Mike Noble, OHPI’s chief of research, said this is the first time immigration has not been among Arizona’s top three issues since researchers began asking the question in early 2016.

“A near-depression has a way of rearranging the priorities of Arizona voters,” Noble said in a press release. “No longer is immigration top of our minds. We want our leaders to focus on healing our economy after this disastrous spring.”

Nearly 654,000 Arizonans have filed for unemployment since businesses began shutting down in the state in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

RELATED: Latino Families And Businesses Say CARES Act Left Them Behind

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research study, only 47% of small businesses expect to still be open in December if the pandemic lasts through July. 

But while more voters are now concerned with the economy, it was education that ranked as the overall top issue. In this most recent poll, 25% of voters called education the state’s most pressing issue, while 21% answered “health care.” 

The OHPI poll also made it clear that the importance of issues varies widely by party affiliation. 

Of those respondents who said the economy was their top issue, 34% were Republicans, while 20% were Independents and 12% were Democrats. 

Republicans also placed more emphasis on immigration than the other parties, with 25% calling it their top issue, compared to Independents at 9% and Democrats at 5%. 

Independents cared most about education, while Democrats cared most about health care. 

RELATED: Arizonans Who Were on Unemployment Before Pandemic Still Awaiting Extension

Of those who said health care was their top issue, 74% said they would support former Vice President Joe Biden this fall. Of those who said the economy was No. 1, 65% said they would like to see President Donald Trump re-elected. 

Other choices for the state’s most pressing issue were national defense, transportation, and gun policies. 

The survey of 600 likely Arizona voters was conducted May 9-11. The margin of error was plus or minus 4%.

Looking for the latest Arizona news? Sign up for our daily newsletter and have it delivered straight to your inbox.