Phoenix pollsters see no way for Trump to catch Biden in Arizona

Nov 6, 2020, 12:15 PM | Updated: 1:11 pm
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day af...
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day after Americans voted in the presidential election, on November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden spoke as votes are still being counted in his tight race against incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Two prominent Phoenix polling firms said Friday they expect Democrat Joe Biden to win Arizona, joining two major media outlets that controversially made the projection on Election Day.

Data Orbital and OH Predictive Insights made their proclamations on social media after results were released Friday morning showing a small gain by President Donald Trump.

“It does not appear plausible that Donald Trump will be able to make up his deficit with the ballots left to be counted,” OH Predictive Insights tweeted.

“While the margin will continue to tighten, with the updates from this morning it has become unlikely that President Trump can overtake Biden and win #AZ,” Data Orbital tweeted.

Data Orbital President George Khalaf told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday the race will continue to tighten, but he expects Biden to notch a narrow victory.

“The president needed to win this morning’s update for Maricopa County by about 14 or 15%,” Khalaf said. “He only won the update by about 5%. So barring anything really crazy happening in other parts of the state, primarily in Pinal County and rural Arizona, it is highly unlikely that he is still on the trajectory to take over Arizona.

It was a reversal from what he told “Hannity” viewers the previous night.

“We’re still confident about the president’s path in Arizona,” Khalaf said during a Thursday interview on the Fox News program.

Before the election, both firms showed Biden ahead in Arizona, although by amounts that had been shrinking and were within the margin of error.

Data Orbital had the Democrat with a narrow lead of less than 1 percentage point in its final poll, while OH Predictive Insights’ last survey showed the former vice president up by 3 points.

After Arizona’s initial results were reported on Election Day, The Associated Press and Fox News called the state for Biden.

Calls by media outlets have no official standing and can’t influence elections because they aren’t made until polls are closed.

Regardless, conservatives turned on Fox News over the Arizona call, with the network among the targets of protesters who have gathered in Phoenix since Election Day.

In a report Thursday afternoon, Fox’s Harris Faulkner listed Arizona among states “too close to call,” even though Fox had called it. Bill Hemmer, who has been closely monitoring the vote count on Fox, told viewers that “we’ll see” if that call needed to be adjusted.

But Fox’s decision desk leaders have made several appearances on the air to explain the Arizona call and say it was standing by it.

“Arizona is doing just what we expected it to do and we remain serene and pristine,” said Fox politics editor Chris Stirewalt.

If the Arizona projection hold up, Biden will clinch the presidency if wins any of the three undecided battleground states in which he was leading on Friday: Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

When The Associated Press called Arizona for Biden in the wee hours of Wednesday, about 80% of the expected vote was counted. Biden was ahead by 5 percentage points, with a roughly 130,000-vote lead over Trump.

The wire service election experts determined that there weren’t enough ballots remaining for Trump to catch up to the former vice president.

By Friday morning, Biden’s lead was down to under 44,000 votes, an edge of just 1.4 percentage points.

But the number of uncounted votes had dwindled to around 238,000 statewide.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told KTAR News’ The Mike Broomhead Show on Friday she expects all the counting, except provisional ballots, to be finished by the weekend. Counties have until Tuesday to resolve provisional ballots.

Biden is looking to become the first Democratic presidential candidate favored in Arizona since Bill Clinton in 1996.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Phoenix pollsters see no way for Trump to catch Biden in Arizona