PHOENIX - One data analyst in Arizona is changing his prediction on who will win Arizona's 11 electoral votes, days after both the Associated Press and FOX News made a projection that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will win Arizona on Nov. 3.
Biden could become first Democrat to win Arizona since Bill Clinton
According to the numbers released by the Arizona Secretary of State's Office on Nov. 8, Biden has 49.54% of the vote, compared to 48.96% by President Donald Trump. 1.50% of the votes went to Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen.
Should final, certified results in Arizona show a win for Biden, it will mark the first time since 1996 that a Democratic presidential candidate wins Arizona's electoral votes.
According to numbers from the Arizona Secretary of State's office, President Bill Clinton, who was running for a second term in the 1996 election, won Arizona with 653,288 votes, compared to 622,073 votes received by GOP candidate Bob Dole.
Arizona’s electoral college votes have been a safe bet for Republicans for most presidential elections over the past seven decades. But not in 2020.
President Donald Trump (left) and Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden (right) (Photos by JIM WATSON, SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Trump made an aggressive push to hold onto Arizona, which he won by 3.5 percentage points in 2016. Trump, his children, Vice President Mike Pence and surrogates visited the state repeatedly during the campaign's closing weeks.
Trump’s campaign focused especially on Latinos and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While church members overwhelmingly vote Republican, Trump’s brash style and comments about women contrast with teachings about modesty. His isolationist foreign policy defies the faith’s tradition of recruiting members worldwide.
Meanwhile, Arizona Democrats benefited from a growing Latino population, an influx of new voters and unease with Trump and the GOP among suburban women.
The state was in play down the ballot, giving Democrats a realistic shot even at winning control of the state Legislature. Voters also approved an initiative allowing Arizona to join other states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Stan Barnes has been embedded in Arizona politics since the 1980s, and even he is not sure how to classify the state in 2020.
"Historians are gonna write about this and the unorthodox president, never was in politics but never served in the military, and say what an interesting time America's in right now, and as it turns out, Arizona’s gonna play a big part in that book," said Barnes.
Data Orbital now predicts very narrow Biden victory
In the first couple of days following Election Day, Data Orbital President George Khalaf predicted an ultimate victory for President Trump in Arizona.
"We feel very strongly that the bills are going to favorite Republicans In terms of party affiliation of those ballots, and that’s going to intern favor President Trump," said Data Orbital President George Khalaf on Nov. 4. "We feel strongly with the data because if we are going to stick our necks out like we are claiming, we have to be able to back it up."
At the time, Khalaf said Arizona has an inverse situation when compared to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan, where late ballots will, in Khalaf's words at the time, heavily favor Republicans in comparison to the other states.
"If the President holds 57% or close to 57% in Maricopa, but wins the big rural counties that are very red by 70%-30% or 80%-20% margin, we believe there’s enough to push him over the line," said Khalaf.
On Nov. 6, however, Khalaf, on his unverified Twitter account, posted a tweet saying Data Orbial now believes Biden will win in Arizona by a margin of 0.6%.
“What we’ve seen in the previous ballot drops, in the higher-performing ends, Trump was at about 57% or so, which he did hit three times in a row, which is why we couldn’t close the door on the race. However, after this most recent one, it’s incredibly unlikely. The math is not there anymore, which is why we feel comfortable to say that. Here’s the reality about elections - one wins, one loses, now the only unknown is legal challenges," said Mike Noble with OH Predictive Insights.
On Nov. 5, DJ Quinlan with Radar Strategies said he believes Biden will hold on to his lead in Arizona.
"President Trump needs about 57% of the outstanding vote statewide. It’s a very high hurdle. Considering the voters who produced the ballots that are left to be counted. The remaining ballots are a lot younger, skews a lot more independent in voter registration," said Quinlan.
Noble also offered a look at what lies ahead for both candidates.
“If [Trump] wins at only 40%, there’s a good chance he’s knocked out of the running, but if he hits that 57% or even better, Trump can be like Seabiscut and pull out a massive come from behind win here in Arizona," said Noble.
Republicans speak out
Despite projections for a Biden win in Arizona by two major news organizations, Republicans are not giving up on the Grand Canyon State yet, as they hope ballots yet to be counted could be enough to flip the state back to red.
"The Election Day votes themselves and some of the others are breaking for President Trump at about 2 to 2.5, and even 3 to 1 in many cases," said Arizona Republican Party Chairperson Kelli Ward.
The GOP believes that hundreds of thousands of ballots still being counted will land in their column, based on where they are from and when they came in.
AP survey paints dour mood for Arizona voters
Arizona voters were in a sour mood as they chose their president, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 132,000 voters and nonvoters nationwide conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey found 61% of voters in Arizona said the U.S. is on the wrong track, while 39% said it is headed in the right direction.
But they were also motivated. Election officials in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, said multiple voting locations remained open as required by state law after they were set to close at 7 p.m. because people were still in line.