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Arizona May Deal Shocking Blow To Trump For Handling Coronavirus Pandemic


Biden has a small advantage in that state, according to polls, helped by the turmoil caused by the coronavirus crisis and demographic shifts that have been brewing for years. But don't write off the president just yet, some voters say.

By Adam Edelman and Vaughn Hillyard - NBC News 


- Larry Vroom, a 79-year-old Republican who has supported that party's candidate in every presidential election in which he has participated in his life, says he will vote for Democrat Joe Biden this year due to the response of the president, Donald Trum , to the coronavirus pandemic.

"He doesn't accept any responsibility," said Vroom, who lives in Sun City, Arizona, outside of Phoenix.

"He does not talk about the vulnerability of people in our age group, 65 and over, even though he is part of that group," he added.

Vroom's remarks reveal a major problem for Trump in Arizona, a key state on the battlefield and that a Democratic presidential candidate has not won since Bill Clinton did in 1996, but where polls now reveal that voters in They generally have an unfavorable view of the president's handling of the crisis.

But Trump's electoral woes are not limited to older people concerned about COVID-19. 

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Conversations with voters, current and former lawmakers, strategists and policy watchers in the state reveal that the president has lost a lot of ground with suburban residents and women, two critical groups with whom he would have to mitigate his losses if he wants to. win the state.

Radical demographic changes in the state, particularly the influx of young people and a growing Latino population, are also affecting his chances for reelection.

[More than two million Latinos have already voted in advance: these are the decisive issues and who do they prefer]

However, those changes have been gradual, experts told NBC News, and Democrats have been targeting Arizona since the 2012 election for its 11 Electoral College votes as an excellent chance for recovery in the current presidential election. 

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But this year, a match was struck that has accelerated the tilt of the balance toward Democrats in Arizona: the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The changes are real, but it is the COVID crisis that is driving people to vote against Trump," said former Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, "that is the issue that allows people to clearly see failure. from the Administration and from Trump himself. "

"His response has been miserable and I think the majority of the people in Arizona - seniors, youth, Hispanics, women - recognize it," added Kolbe.

Chuck Coughlin, a Republican strategist in Phoenix, put it more simply: "Minus COVID, this particularly tight race here - Arizona state - is not happening this year."

A shift to the left accelerated by COVID-19 

Nearly 235,000 people have been infected with coronavirus in Arizona and nearly 6,000 have died from the disease.

While new cases briefly declined after a high summer meeting, diagnoses are on the rise again. 

In Arizona, as is the case nationally, infections and deaths disproportionately affect older people and people of color, including Latinos.

And because a large number of people from both groups reside in this state, dissatisfaction with the way in which Trump has handled the pandemic is an issue that is remarkably emerging in electoral polls. 

[The Supreme Court will allow Pennsylvania to count mail-in votes for up to three days after the election]

Biden has led Trump in seven of the last eight Arizona polls tracked by NBC News, by margins of up to eight percentage points.

Many of the polls showed that Arizona voters overwhelmingly believe that Biden is better prepared than Trump to handle the pandemic.

Biden has seen his support grow among older voters, a large percentage of the Arizona electorate.

Trump won the trust of voters 65 and older in 2016 in Arizona by a difference of 13 percentage points, according to exit polls, but a New York Times poll published earlier this month showed Biden leading. that age group over Trump by one percentage point.

"Older people are really supporting Biden, which, compared to 2016, is a big change," said Samara Klar, associate professor at the University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy and an expert on the political dynamics of the state.

The same poll showed Biden with a whopping 38 percentage point advantage over Trump among Latino voters in the state.

Their support among that growing demographic - which has doubled since 1980 and makes up about a third of the state's population - is a product of grassroots efforts Democrats have made in recent years, dating back to the fight against controversial state law of

Show me your papers


Show me your papers

, in English).

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Mari Yepez, field director for MiAZ, a Latino voter engagement group in the state, started the community organizing eight years ago during an effort to remove now-former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office.

"We have registered people and we are registering them on the permanent early voting lists," he said.

"All of these things contribute to a mosaic of reasons why the state is so competitive (in the outcome of the elections)," according to strategist Coughlin.

[In the key state of Wisconsin, Latinos are few, but they have the power to define the outcome of the elections]

Meanwhile, the large number of people who have moved from other parts of the state to the Phoenix metropolitan area in recent years (it is the fastest growing city in the country) has caused the number of young voters with college education to increase in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs, accounting for more than 60% of the state's electorate.

That demographic helped fuel Democratic victories across the country in the 2018 midterm elections.

And that change makes Trump's path to victory in Arizona even more challenging. 

Trump won Maricopa County in 2016 by three percentage points (and suburban voters by 16 percentage points, according to exit polls).

But the latest New York Times poll shows that between 57% and 29% of voters in the Phoenix region support Biden, while in the rest of Maricopa County between 46% and 45% support him.

The great impact of women, McCain and the Senate race

The impact of the vote of women, especially those residing in Maricopa County who have massively supported Biden, is just as critical to a possible victory for the Democratic candidate in Arizona.

(In the latest New York Times poll, Biden led Trump among all women by 18 percentage points.)

“The women thing is fundamental.

Women make up a group that Trump has lost en masse, ”said Kolbe, who left office in 2007 and decided to leave the Republican Party entirely in 2018 because of his differences with Trump.

"That will be his Achilles heel," he added.

[Have you had problems voting in elections?

Help us report them]

Biden is also poised to benefit from the huge effort Democrat Mark Kelly is making to remove incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally.

Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, has led McSally by large margins in polls, which also show him to be well-loved and trusted in the state.

Additionally, Biden continues to benefit from the years-long feud between Trump and former Senator John McCain, a feud that Trump has even tried to keep alive even after he died of brain cancer in 2018. In fact, McCain's widow, Cindy McCain, appeared in a video supporting Biden during the Democratic National Convention and later showing his full support for the Democratic candidate.

"John McCain is still absolutely revered in Arizona, and I think seeing Cindy McCain up there reminded people of Trump's attitude toward him and the stories we've heard about his attitude toward the military," said Klar of the University. from Arizona.

However, some experts warn that Trump continues to enjoy strong support in the state, mainly because demographic changes, although significant, have not yet completely tilted the vote towards the Democratic side and because the polls could be underestimating Trump's support. .

"Hillary Clinton is actually the one who got the most votes for Democratic presidential candidates in state history, but she still lost by more than three percentage points," recalled Andy Barr, a California-based Democratic strategist who has served multiple campaigns. in the state.

"One of the things that people tend to do is correlate the poll numbers with the performance of voters - at the polls," he added.

Barr, however, also pointed to the fact that two years later, in 2018, Kyrsten Sinema received more votes (dominating among women, suburbanites, and Latinos) on her way to winning the Senate seat she left empty. former Republican Senator Jeff Flake on his retirement.

His strategy is being closely followed by Biden and Kelly, Barr said.

The early voting appears to overwhelmingly favor Biden.

Ballots returned during the state's first week of early voting nearly doubled from the levels of the 2018 midterm elections, and analyzes of those ballots broken down by party registration of voters from Barr and Coughlin indicate that the results will favor the Democrats.

"Trump is the best participation machine ever invented for the Democratic Party," Coughlin said, "the first votes that are starting to come in seem to indicate that."

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A tough battle on the ground

Meanwhile, Biden and Trump, and their running mates, have had an aggressive presence on the ground in Arizona.

Since August, Trump has visited the state three times, including a two-stop trip to Prescott and Tucson last week.

And Vice President Mike Pence has held three political events in the state since that same month, while Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump have held a couple of rallies in the state since mid-September.

The president's election campaign told NBC News that he has had in-person contact with 6.8 million Arizona voters throughout the 2020 cycle, and Trump himself has boasted that he believes his footprint with his in-person visits can keep the state in check. red color -republican-.

"I'm going to go out there and win the state of Arizona today with two big rallies," he said last week just before landing in the state. 

For their part, Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, earlier this month chose Phoenix as the location for their first joint campaign rally since they were nominated by the Democratic Party.

Campaign substitutes like former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, who ran in this year's Democratic primary, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Pérez, also made stops in the state last week. 

The spending war for both campaigns, mostly on ads, has also been surprising, as Biden has devoted significantly more resources to the state in recent weeks.

The Biden campaign has spent $ 25 million on ads in the state since Labor Day, while the Trump campaign has spent $ 11 million, according to Advertising Analytics. 

Outside groups supporting Biden have invested another $ 31 million, while pro-Trump groups have invested another $ 20 million. 

The expenses have made the Phoenix area one of the most expensive media markets in the entire country this fall.

Biden's announcements have largely focused on Cindy McCain's endorsement of Biden, Trump's endorsement of a drug for the treatment of COVID-19 that experts have said should not be used, and a general criticism of the Trump's failures to address multiple crises, including the pandemic and its dire consequences on the economy. 

It is no coincidence that those are the issues that are at the fore in the minds of several voters who have been on the run from Trump.

"I've lost respect for this party," said Susan Lecometros, a resident of Phoenix suburb Gilbert and nurse, who changed her registration to vote from Republican to Democrat earlier this year and donated to the Biden campaign.

In the past, Lecometros said she had always "felt secure in our leadership, whether Republican or Democrat."

But not under Trump.

"I jumped off the boat," he highlighted now.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2020-10-26

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