Tucson Voters Weigh in on City Charter Updates, Most Important Issues


SALCTUCSON, AZ – A new survey of likely voters in the City of Tucson shows they prefer to change the structure of the city’s current election process, but many are unsure what that change should be. Roads, economic development and public safety remain the most important issues to the local electorate.

The market research was commissioned by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to assess attitudes about priorities for the city, funding questions and changes in city election methods. The survey was fielded in partnership with the business community, which funded the effort, led by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC).

While voters want to repair the roads and keep police and fire service from declining, they were evenly split with half responding that “taxes are high enough” and half answering that “Tucson is in desperate need of more resources.” Voters also cited crime, public transit, public employee pension costs and not enough parks and playgrounds.

Regarding city elections, 36 percent of survey respondents thought election to City Council should be city-wide in both the primary and general elections, while 26 percent favored ward-only for both primary selection and general election. Only 16 percent favored the current method of ward-only primaries and city-wide general elections. But there also was a lot of uncertainty with nearly a quarter of respondents, 23 percent, indicating “not sure about this.”

Last November voters approved changes to Tucson’s City Charter that included voting rights for the mayor and clarification of hiring and firing authority for the city manager. Another update to the charter would be required to change how the primary and general elections are decided.

“SALC is a data-driven organization and we rely on information to make the changes needed to improve our community,” said Ron Shoopman, SALC president and CEO. “The need for voter education is clear and the Tucson City Charter Change committee has a lot of work to do to make sure the public understands the choices available.”

Shoopman added that he was not surprised that roads, economic growth and public safety topped the list of most important issues.

“That mirrors what we have found at SALC and among the initiatives we are working on most diligently,” he said.

The survey was done by Purple Strategies of Washington, D.C. see full survey here: Tucson Ballot Initiative Survey – Feb 15 2016