Western Values Project released new statewide polling highlighting Arizona voters’ opposition to Senator Martha McSally voting to confirm David Bernhardt as the next Interior Secretary. Key findings from the polling show that Arizonans have clear concerns about confirming Bernhardt, which deepen the more they hear, and that Sen. McSally risks losing her constituents’ support by voting to confirm Bernhardt.
Heading into the Senate confirmation process for acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Arizonans disapprove of the Interior Department’s agenda and have concerns about confirming Bernhardt to lead the agency. After hearing a series of messages from opponents of Bernhardt’s confirmation, a clear majority statewide oppose confirming him (31% support/54% oppose, including 45% who strongly oppose his confirmation).
Arizonans also have mixed feelings about Senator Martha McSally, and messages from opponents of Bernhardt’s confirmation move Arizonans to oppose both Bernhardt’s confirmation and McSally’s re-election should she vote to confirm him. Such a vote by McSally would exacerbate her existing vulnerabilities, including constituents’ beliefs that she is too quick to side with President Trump (53% say this describes her well) and weak on environmental issues (only 30% believe she’s doing a good job on the environment).
“David Bernhardt has proven to be the poster child of the very swamp President Trump promised to drain,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “He’s spent the past two years at Interior doing the bidding of corporate lobbyists and special interests, and we can expect that to continue should he be confirmed as Interior Secretary. It’s clear that Sen. McSally’s constituents are concerned about Bernhardt’s anti-public lands actions that threaten protected land in the state, and by Bernhardt’s lobbyist past. She should listen to her constituents and vote against his nomination.”
The poll also shows how widely unpopular the Department of Interior’s agenda under Bernhardt is in Arizona. By wide margins, Arizonans disapprove of weakening protections for threatened species and changes to the Endangered Species Act (66% disapprove, 54% strongly), shrinking national monument protections for industrial oil and gas and mining development (68% disapprove, 52% strongly), and expediting approval and permitting of oil and gas drilling in previously protected wildlife habitat (64% disapprove, 49% strongly).
Global Strategy Group conducted a survey of 604 likely 2020 general election voters in Arizona from March 13 to 17, 2019. The results of this survey have a margin of error of +/-4.0%.