JIM SHARPE

The 2 (really) big things causing Joe Biden to trail Donald Trump in Arizona

May 20, 2024, 3:00 PM

When abortion put Arizona in the national political spotlight a few weeks ago, a lot of people asked if that was going to be the issue that could help Joe Biden get reelected.

Well, the answer to that question (at least as of right now) is “no” — if you believe what the polls are telling us. 

A new CBS News poll of registered voters shows that former President Donald Trump has a five-point advantage over Biden in Arizona.

Even though this poll shows that there’s broad support for abortion rights in Arizona, the economy and immigration rise above abortion in voters’ minds. And those are issues don’t seem to be Biden’s strong suit — even though they’re important to voters across the political spectrum. 

A majority of registered Arizona voters told CBS News that Biden has been “too easy” on migrants — and a majority say recent immigrants have made life in Arizona worse. That percentage has dramatically changed over the last four years: It went from 35% in July 2020 to 52% now.

(By the way — this poll shows a majority of Arizonans think transplants from other U.S. states have also made life worse. I take that as a sign that it’s not foreigners who bother us — it’s the sheer number of humans coming into Arizona that’s the problem.)

What was really stark, however, was voters’ feelings on how the two candidates differ on border policy: 72% said they believe Trump’s policies favor U.S. citizens over immigrants, while only 13% said the same thing about Biden.

In fact, the border appears to be hurting Biden with traditionally democratically-aligned groups: A decent chunk of Hispanic voters also say that recent immigrants have made life in Arizona worse. 

Biden won a majority of Arizona’s Hispanic voters in 2020, but right now, among that voting bloc, he’s running even with Trump.

The likely reason is that Hispanic voters’ attitudes in 2024 look a lot like the attitude of voters overall: They’re concerned about the border — and they’re not too thrilled about the economy either. And like most Arizona voters, they believe they will be financially better off if Trump wins. 

It’s those two issues that seem to lead to the headline number of this poll: Trump leads Biden in the swing state of Arizona by 52-47%.

We were reporting on Arizona’s Morning News that prices for groceries fell by a 1/5 of a percent in April — and some items (like eggs) dropped by more than 7%. Fair or not, people feel like Biden cracked too many economic eggs during his time in office — and didn’t create a fluffy-enough economic omelet with them.

And along with all those eggs, they feel like he broke the border too.

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Jim Sharpe

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The 2 (really) big things causing Joe Biden to trail Donald Trump in Arizona