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 Biden on Thursday after a new poll showed the former vice president opening up a 5-point lead over President Trump 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.

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 Clinton 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. 

Tags 2020 elections Arizona politics Arizona poll Cook Political Report Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden
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