There were actually a few important places in 2016 where Democrats did better than they did in 2012. Arizona was one such place. Obama lost the state by 9 points, Hillary Clinton by only 3.5 points. Democrats improved their margins among Latinos, Asians/others, white noncollege voters and especially white college graduates (the latter group split almost evenly between Trump and Clinton).
Could these trends continue and, combined with the ongoing shift toward a more Latino electorate, finally tip Arizona into blue territory? It is certainly possible. If so, we may the first manifestations of this shift in 2018 election results. Politico magazine has a lengthy article by Ethan Epstein out about this year’s races in Arizona, accompanied by a revealing poll of the state’s voters.
“President Donald Trump’s unpopularity, coupled with an electorate that has…grown more Latino….has put two crucial races in play. One is the governor’s contest, where incumbent Republican Doug Ducey faces a likely challenge from David Garcia, a Hispanic-American professor and education expert at Arizona State University. A number of House seats are up for grabs in the state. Then there’s the race to fill Flake’s seat that pits Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema against, depending on how the primary shakes out, establishment-backed Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally. The last time a Democrat won that seat was in 1982.
A new POLITICO/AARP poll shows Democrats ahead by 7 points in generic ballots in both the governor’s and Senate races. But to actually win statewide elections in this highly ethnically polarized state, Democrats will need to juice turnout among younger and especially older Latinos, who have tended to vote at lower rates than other voters in their age group — who also are trending ever more Republican….
The new POLITICO/AARP poll shows that among Arizona Hispanics only 26 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the job the president is doing; 72 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” disapprove. The congressional and gubernatorial polls tell a similar tale, with only 22 percent of Latinos supporting the generic Republican candidate for Congress and the same percentage backing Ducey’s reelection bid.”
Disapproval of Trump is nearly as strong among young voters in general who disapprove of Trump by at 65-30 margin. These same young voters massively back Democrats in the elections for governor and Senator.
Get these voters to the polls and a blue dawn could break over Arizona in 2018.