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Cook Political Report moves Arizona to 'lean Democrat' in Biden-Trump race

The Cook Political Report shifted the presidential race in Arizona toward Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden offers support to union organizing efforts Senate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits MORE on Thursday after a new poll showed the former vice president opening up a 5-point lead over President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE in the state.

The election handicapper’s decision to move Arizona from its toss-up column to “lean Democrat” came amid mounting signs that the state is slipping away from Trump despite his narrow 3.5-point win there four years ago. 

A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Cook Political Report out Thursday showed Biden leading Trump 45-40 percent, giving the Democratic nominee a more substantial advantage than in other battleground states like Florida and North Carolina.

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The poll results track with other recent public surveys. The FiveThirtyEight polling average in Arizona shows Biden with a 4.8-point edge over Trump. 

The KFF-Cook poll carries some troubling signs for Trump’s reelection bid. Republican voters in the state aren’t as firm in their support of Trump as they are in Florida and North Carolina, with only about 73 percent saying they will definitely vote for the president in November. Another 9 percent said they will either probably or definitely cast their ballot for Biden.

Trump’s support among Latinos in Arizona is also lagging. The poll showed him garnering just 17 percent support among those voters to Biden’s 55 percent. In 2016, Trump captured 31 percent of the Latino vote in Arizona. 

Trump’s trouble in Arizona also owes in part to defections by suburban voters in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. Biden now leads there by 6 points, according to the KFF-Cook poll. Trump won the county in 2016 by about 3 points. 

If Biden wins Arizona in November, it would significantly ease his path to 270 electoral votes. He could afford to lose in other battleground states like Wisconsin or Michigan and still capture the White House, as long as he carries the other states that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMedia circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm MORE captured in 2016.

The KFF-Cook poll surveyed 1,298 registered voters in Arizona Aug. 29-Sept. 13. It has a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points.