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Ducey gets average grades on education, economy in KTAR News/OHPI poll

In this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey presents his State of the State address, in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey received an average voter report card when it came to education and the economy in a KTAR News/OH Predictive Insights poll released Wednesday.

Twenty-nine percent of the 401 registered Arizona voters who responded to the poll gave Ducey a C grade on education, while 28 percent gave him an F.

Only 17 percent of respondents gave the governor a B, while 8 percent gave him an A.

(KTAR News Photo)

(KTAR News Photo)

Education has become a pillar of Ducey’s administration. He pushed through the controversial Proposition 123 — designed to pump $3.5 billion into the state’s school system — last year and has announced plans to bring in more teachers.

“We really think we have a positive message about getting more resources in the classroom but also reforming how the resources are used so they get to teachers for raises and they get to kids to have a better experience in the classroom,” Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said when asked about the poll results.

However, some teachers claimed they were “played” into their support of Prop. 123.

And a group of school districts and associations representing school officials and teachers sued the state on Monday, saying the Legislature has shorted them billions of dollars in required capital project funding over the past decade.

The governor did fare a little better in the poll when it came to the economy.

Thirty-five percent of respondents gave him a C grade, while 13 and 14 percent gave him a D or F.

Twenty-five percent gave him a B and, again, just 8 percent gave him an A.

(KTAR News Photo)

(KTAR News Photo)

The uptick in approval compared to education should come as little surprise to the former businessman — his primary focus in office has been the economy.

Ducey has played a key role in attracting big-name companies to the state, primarily by reducing regulations.

“The governor meets with CEOs — he can have peer-to-peer discussions with them because he is a former CEO,” Scarpinato said.

“He understands why businesses make the decisions they make. He understands that we have to have a competitive tax and regulatory environment.”

Numerous companies, including Google and Uber, are testing self-driving vehicles in Arizona. Lucid Motors, a Tesla competitor, is planning to open an electric car factory in Casa Grande.

“The jobs that we have coming in are very high-tech,” Scarpinato said.

Ducey had previously highlighted education and the economy as some of his strengths in a 2016 year in review.

The poll could mean the governor has a long road to re-election, should he choose to run again next year. Forty-three percent of respondents — the largest number by far — to the poll said education is the biggest problem facing Arizona.

(KTAR News Photo)

(KTAR News Photo)

“I think you’re seeing a focus on education around the state that you haven’t seen in a decade, so I think that’s probably also informing the public’s attention on education,” Scarpinato said, adding that more than half of Ducey’s State of the State address focused on the topic.

Fifteen percent said the economy is the biggest issue in the state.

The poll was conducted by OH Predictive Insights — an Arizona-based polling company — in partnership with KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Survey Methodology

This live and automated caller survey was conducted on May 1 from an active Arizona registered voter sample. The sample size was 401 completed surveys, with a MoE of +/-4.89 percent. Of the surveys, 35 percent were conducted on cell phones and 65 percent via landlines. The party affiliation, geographic, gender and age demographics accurately reflect active registered voters in Arizona in this sample.

KTAR’s Corbin Carson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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