By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- The opinion of Arizonans about how Gov. Doug Ducey is handling the COVID-19 outbreak has dropped -- sharply -- as the number of cases has skyrocketed.
A total of 37 percent of those questioned say they strongly disapprove of how the governor is managing the situation, with another 26 percent saying they somewhat disapprove.
The poll done by OH Predictive Insights of 600 people who are likely to vote this year does not specifically ask whether unhappy Arizonans find the governor's policies and practices too weak or too strong.
But pollster Mike Noble pointed out the results are a sharp departure from when he asked the identical question a month ago. That was two weeks after the governor dissolved his stay-at-home order and allowed bars and restaurants to fully reopen.
At that time the number of new daily cases was in the 1,300 range. It had just started to rise as the incubation period for the virus is about a week and it can take several days after that to get test results.
And the survey done in early June found Ducey's overall coronavirus approval rating was 22 points higher than the number who did not like what he was doing.
By June 29, the number of new cases was running about 5,300 a day.
That was the day the governor reversed course, at least partly, closing bars,gyms, theaters and water parks. The number of new cases has flattened out somewhat since then, though even the health department reports that data for the past week or so may be incomplete as it awaits test results from laboratories.
But his negative ratings now exceed his positive by 28 points.
It's probably not surprising that Democrats are the most worried about the virus, with 89 percent saying they are at least moderately concerned. But even among Republicans, 47 percent said they are extremely or moderately concerned.
There was no immediate response from the governor.
The latest figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services show the total number of cases as of Monday hit 123,824 with 2,245 deaths. That includes 1,357 new cases reported on Monday with eight new deaths.
Hospitals are reporting that 90 percent of the beds in their intensive-care units are occupied, with more than 62 percent of those occupied beds housing patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
Overall in-patient bed usage is at 87 percent, nearly half and half between COVID and non-COVID patients. And a record 671 COVID-19 patients were on ventilators.
The survey was conducted last week, with two thirds of those responding through live interviews and the balance through automated responses. It has a margin of error of 4.0 percentage points.