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Biden and Kelly Maintain Leads in Arizona

Biden and Kelly Maintain Leads in Arizona

Support for Ballot Initiatives Surpasses 50 Percent Mark

PHOENIX (October 15th, 2020)- With early ballots being filled out and mailed back to county election offices, former Vice President Joe Biden maintains a small lead against President Donald Trump, according to the latest OH Predictive Insights (OHPI) Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) poll – a statewide likely voter survey.

In the race for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 4-points. Just shy of half (49%) of Arizonans plan on casting their ballots for Biden while 45% plan to do so for Trump.

The poll marks the first time that Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen was included alongside the two major party candidates and she is the choice of 4% of Arizona voters. While her support is small, it may be pivotal when it comes to determining the winner in November depending on which candidate she pulls more votes from. When voters were then asked to pick only between Biden and Trump, 50% of voters chose Biden and 47% chose Trump.

Another reason why President Trump appears to be struggling in this election is his inability to retain voters who cast their ballot for him in 2016. Less than 9 in 10 of those who voted for Trump in 2016 say they will do so again. Ninety-four percent of 2016 Hillary Clinton voters say they plan to vote for Joe Biden.

Donald Trump is also struggling to win over new voters. Those who voted for a third-party candidate four years ago now support Joe Biden over Trump by a 15-point margin, and voters who either were ineligible or did not vote in 2016 support the former-Veep by 8 points.

“This race appears to be narrowing as ballots start reaching voters’ mailboxes,” said OHPI Chief of Research Mike Noble. “However, President Trump remains in danger of becoming the first Republican in a generation to lose Arizona.”

In Arizona’s hotly contested Senate race, Mark Kelly continues to lead Sen. Martha McSally. The former astronaut earns the support of 50 percent of Arizonans compared to the former fighter pilot’s 45 percent. McSally’s strongest supporters are precisely who one might expect them to be — males (McSally +4), those who live in rural Arizona (McSally +7), voters 55 and older (McSally +11), and whites without a college degree (McSally +12). Conversely, Kelly performs well with females (Kelly +13), Pima County residents (Kelly +22), younger voters (Kelly +18), and whites with a college degree (Kelly +24).

Looking at how voters view the two candidates, the barrage of negative ads on the Arizona airwaves appears to be taking its toll – particularly on Mark Kelly. From September to October, Martha McSally’s net favorability rating fell one point, from -7 (meaning 7% more voters had an unfavorable view of her than a positive one) to -8. Mark Kelly’s on the other hand fell quite drastically. In September, he had a net +17 favorability rating (meaning 17% more voters had a favorable view of him than a negative one), but by October that had fallen to +7.

For much of this campaign and even dating back to her 2018 race, McSally has struggled to lock up the Republican base. Just last month slightly more than three-quarters of registered GOP voters were supporting the Senator and 15% planned to vote for Kelly. Now, she is winning Republicans by 82 points – similar to Kelly’s 84-point margin among Democrats. However, McSally has spent so much time shoring up her base, she has let Independent voters get away. She is losing this pivotal voting bloc by 34 points to Mark Kelly.

“Martha McSally’s base strategy has finally started paying dividends,” said Noble. “However, by playing this game, she has lost major ground with Independents.”

Turning to ballot measures in Arizona, supporters of Proposition 208 – the Invest in Education Act – have a solid but not insurmountable lead over opponents of the measure. More than half (55%) of voters currently would support raising taxes on Arizona’s wealthy in order to increase education funding in the state, while just 39% oppose. Apart from Republicans, who oppose the measure 25% to 67%, no other major demographic is against the initiative. Support is highest among Democrats (Support +71), those aged 18-54 (Support +29), Pima County Voters (Support +31), and females (Support +26).

Proposition 207, on the other hand, is in slightly better shape. Again, 55% of likely voters support legalizing recreational marijuana in Arizona while 37% are opposed. This is a stark difference from last month’s AZPOP which showed support and opposition to the measure statistically tied. However, this shift can be explained by two factors. The first factor being solidifying support among Democrats and Independents for the ballot initiative. Democrats saw a net 15-point increase in support and Independents saw a net 41-point increase. The second factor is a change in the question verbiage that voters were asked. As election day nears, we at OHPI transitioned from asking our normal phrasing of the question to using the official descriptions used by the Secretary of State’s office (see poll report for exact wording).

“Proposition 207 and 208 have both crossed the 50% threshold and over the next 3 weeks must hold their support,” said Noble.

One thing the Presidential, Senate, and propositions along with all other items on the ballot have in common is the upcoming uncertainty that initial Election Day returns will present. There are large disparities in voting intentions between those who say they plan to vote ON Election Day itself versus those who plan to cast their ballots early. Voters who say they will vote on Election Day (either in person or by dropping off their mail-in ballots at a polling place or drop box) overwhelmingly support President Trump and Martha McSally. Those who plan on voting early (either by mail, in-person, or by dropping off their ballot at a polling place or drop box) support Joe Biden and Mark Kelly.

“Historically, Republican candidates hold solid leads after early ballots are counted,” said Noble.  “This year, Democrats are likely to overperform Republicans in Early Ballot returns.”


Methodology: This poll was conducted as a blended phone survey 45.7% Live Caller/54.3% IVR. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights from October 4th to October 8th, 2020, from an Arizona 2020 Likely Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education level. The sample size was 608 completed surveys, with an MoE of ± 4.0%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding. Note: a change was made in the sampling methodology of the AZPOP between June and July 2020 to better reflect the state of Arizona’s voter composition.

Media Contacts:

Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights,, (480) 313-1837

Haylye Plaster, OH Predictive Insights,, (602) 687-3034

About OH Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan market research, predictive analytics, and public opinion polling firm, Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics, and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling, and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 602-362-5694 or submit a request online. 



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