Since 1952, Arizona has voted Republican in the presidential election every single time except one. In 1996, the Grand Canyon State voted for Bill Clinton in his re-election bid. If recent polling is accurate, Arizona may once again vote for a Clinton over the Republican nominee.
According to a poll released on Wednesday by the Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News, Hillary Clinton has opened her lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump, extending it to a five-percentage point lead. Hillary currently leads Trump 39 – 34 just 19 days away from the election. This extension of her lead is an increase from her one-percent lead over Trump in Arizona in August.
Although roughly 21-percent of those polled remain undecided, the fact that those who have made up their mind gives Clinton a lead over Trump should concern the Arizona Republican Party with the state at risk of flipping to blue from its formerly solidly red state.
To make things worse for Trump, when pollsters factored in “leaners,” those leaning towards one candidate, the number of undecideds drops to 8.1 percent but Clinton still maintains her five-point lead over Trump, 43 – 38.
The poll took place from Oct. 10th to the 15th and was conducted by telephone. It has a plus or minus 4.3-percentage-point margin of error.
In September, the Arizona Republic did something it hasn’t done since its launch in 1890. The conservative newspaper endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for the presidency not because they agree with her policies but because, as noted by the editorial board, they believe Trump is not conservative and not fit for the presidency.
“The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified,” the editorial board writes. “That’s why, for the first time in our history, The Arizona Republic will support a Democrat for president.”
The paper readily admits Hillary Clinton’s many flaws and that she has made many mistakes, but claim they pale in comparison to Trump’s, who they blasted for a temperament that “responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads.”
“When the president of the United States speaks, the world expects substance. Not a blistering tweet,” the paper writes, a slam on the liberal New York billionaire’s propensity to go off the rails on Twitter.
The fact that traditionally red Arizona is now seen as a battleground state and in play for Democrats is shocking. Hillary Clinton, seeing her increasing chances of winning Arizona, has not only increased her advertising budget in the state, she is also ramping up her campaign efforts.
Her daughter Chelsea will be campaigning at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe on Wednesday. First Lady Michelle Obama will campaign for Hillary in Phoenix on Thursday. Hillary’s primary rival, avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, campaigned for her on Tuesday in both Flagstaff and Tucson.