Make no mistake, the GOP still leads in the state among registered voters: 35% are Republicans, just ahead of Democrats (32%) and independents (32%).
But months of polling in Arizona have appeared promising for Mr. Biden and Mark Kelly, the Democratic Senate candidate here, banking on many of the trends that have buoyed Democrats in suburbs across the country.
The frontlines for this fight are in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous and home of the capital of Phoenix — which Democrats have taken to labeling America’s largest battleground county; more than 6 in 10 of the state’s registered voters live here. And the blueprint for the hopes of many Democrats lies in the 2018 win by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema here, who claimed victory even as Republicans scored wins statewide in the same election.
The Biden campaign and its allies have made much of their appeal among these so-called “crossover” voters in Arizona, including high-profile backers in former Senator Jeff Flake or Cindy McCain, widow of the late Senator John McCain. But this effort extends even to grassroots supporters, with one group led by a former GOP appointee crowdfunding unofficial “Arizona Republicans for Biden” billboards and yard signs around the state.
Democrats and a wide array of allied groups have also focused their efforts on turning out Latinos in the state, which the Pew Research Center estimates makes up 24% of eligible voters in the state — behind only Texas (30%) among the battleground states.
According to CBS News polling, 61% of Hispanic voters favor Biden, a split that has remained relatively steady over several months in the state. And observers have often credited boosted turnout among this pivotal demographic as key to Sinema’s win in 2018.
But the Trump campaign also claims to have invested in an extensive effort to mobilize its supporters among the state’s Latinos, with both sides touting everything from hiring bilingual organizers to pouring millions into Spanish-language advertising.
Campaigns have also raced to turn out seniors in Arizona, since the Phoenix area has some of America’s biggest retirement communities. In 2016, exit polls reported one in four Arizona voters were 65 and older — more than any other state rated as a toss-up this year.
These older voters broke in the president’s favor four years ago, backing Mr. Trump 55% to Hillary Clinton’s 42% in exit polls at the time. But the latest CBS News polling found a narrower margin in October, with just 52% of older voters picking the president, compared to Mr. Biden’s 46%, and none of these older voters said they might or probably could change their support.