MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (NewsNation Now) — Early voting started last week throughout the Grand Canyon state and you might say supporters of both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are offering color commentary.
“Well, I think we’re gonna stay red,” said Arizona voter Dan Cole. “My work, at home, the neighborhoods, pretty much the same as it was for years ago.”
“I think our state is purple,” said Arizona voter Jill Spear. “I think we will go some blue and some elections offices that will go red.”
The Metro Phoenix area in Maricopa County accounts for the vast majority of votes in Arizona, which has been a Republican stronghold for decades, but the past decade has brought in a lot of new voters.
Samara Klar is with the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona.
“What we have seen over time is a demographic shift here in Arizona that favors the Democratic Party, so we have a larger proportion of voters who are Latino, who are college-educated, rapid urbanization, moving from the rural areas to the city,” Klar said. “So all of those trends are pointing to a Democratic victory here in Arizona.”
Klar points to the immigration crackdown several years ago by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a key factor in galvanizing the Latino community. It sparked a massive voter registration campaign and Arpaio’s ouster.
Elections officials are seeing brisk traffic at its drive-thru drop-off site in Phoenix and voter turnout is expected to be even higher than the 65% seen during the midterm election two years ago.
There is no predicting the presidential race.
“Polling here in Arizona is really dead even. So it is really anyone’s guess as to who is gonna win right now,” Klar said.
Voters cited law and order, immigration and the coronavirus response as factors in their decisions.
“I think Trump is gonna win,” Arizona voter Michael Tee.”The beautiful thing about America is we can move. I don’t like stuff. I’m gonna move.”
“I’m excited and I think it’s going to be very interesting and a close call,” Arizona voter Alisha Mallewic said.
“Republicans in Arizona are still a numerical majority. We have more registered Republicans here than registered Democrats and that really works, of course, in Trump’s favor. So it’s really hard to know what’s gonna happen,” Klar said.