The Arizona Republic published a piece I wrote about the Arizona Governor’s race. Here it is in it’s entirety:
Doug Ducey is a blueprint for the GOP
Sean Noble, AZ I See It
Sean Noble: Doug Ducey stood FOR something, and voters responded to his agenda.
Plenty of those taking office in January got there simply by not being a Democrat in a Republican year. If the GOP is to prevail in 2016, they’ll need more.
Doug Ducey’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Arizona provides the blueprint for Republicans going forward.
When conservatives pine for “the next Ronald Reagan,” they are really talking about leadership. They want someone who articulates a vision, who can build a broad, diverse coalition, and who fights for conservative principles rather than conservative politics.
Arizona has found such a leader in former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey, an energetic, optimistic businessman who was fond of saying, “I built a business, now I want to shrink a government and grow an economy.” Ducey is a man of action; he’ll do what he says he’ll do.
And what is that? He’ll make changes to education funding so that more dollars make it to the classroom, rather than bloated administrations.
He’ll reduce the waiting lists for high-performing schools so that low-income kids can have access to the best education possible.
He’ll end the practice of government picking winners and losers and lower individual and corporate income taxes so that Arizona attracts new business.
And he’ll provide leadership that all Arizonans — and conservatives — can be proud of.
Doug Ducey stood for something; voters cast their ballots in support of his agenda rather than against the Democratic agenda. Ducey ran an effective campaign by building a broad coalition, staying on message and clearly articulating a platform of opportunity, which resonated with Arizonans.
American Encore commissioned Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company, Inc. and Women Trend to conduct a post-election poll. Conway’s findings show Ducey won big on substance.
Education was a clear priority for voters (35 percent), with the economy next (32 percent) followed by border security (13 percent) and health care/”Obamacare” (12 percent).
When it came to education, 65 percent of women and 62 percent of men said it was important to their vote that Ducey supported scholarship programs to give low-income children access to high-performing schools.
By making it clear that education mattered to him and delivering a strong message of support for school choice, Ducey neutralized Fred DuVal’s negative messaging that Ducey didn’t care about education. This among other factors led to a remarkable result: Ducey beat DuVal among women.
The Democratic “war on women” playbook just fell flat with voters. When asked about the most important issues in casting their vote for governor, 1 percent cited women’s issues and another 1 percent cited abortion.
In fact, Fred DuVal is the first Democratic candidate to fumble the abortion issue. He took the extreme position that parents should not have to consent in order for their 14 year-old daughter to get an abortion. Fifty-nine percent of voters cited that position as important to their vote.
Other typical liberal rhetoric like class warfare and climate change failed to move Arizona voters. Only 1 percent of voters cited income inequality as important, and less than 1 percent cited climate change.
Oh, and for all the media squawking about “dark money”? Exactly one respondent out of 500 thought it important.
Doug Ducey attracted a broad range of support. In addition to winning among women, he won 24 percent of the Hispanic vote and only slightly trailed DuVal among young voters, while enjoying a 25-point advantage with 45- to 54-year-olds and leading big among those 55 and older.
Of course, the national environment had some impact on the race: Only 37 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of President Barack Obama, and 57 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
But the environment doesn’t explain the 12-point margin of victory for Ducey. On Election Day, Ducey enjoyed a 50 vs. 31 percent favorable/unfavorable rating, compared with DuVal at 38 vs. 35 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. That had a huge impact on late deciding voters — of which there were more than usual. A whopping 23 percent made up their mind in the last two weeks of the election.
The late Steve Shadegg, one of the premiere election experts in modern history, said that, ultimately, elections come down to whom you can trust. If you explain your positions eloquently and honestly, as Doug Ducey did, people will trust you — even if they don’t agree with you on every issue. Ducey provided Republicans with the perfect campaign blueprint; next, he’ll show them how to govern.
Sean Noble is the president of American Encore.