Why Arizona Is Tilting Blue: ‘The State’s Clearly in Motion’

The Pew Research Center has predicted that this year for the first time, Hispanic voters will be the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the United States electorate, narrowly outnumbering Black voters. In Arizona, where the Black population is relatively small, the fast-rising Hispanic share of the electorate has been crucial to Democrats’ rising strength — though the party has also made inroads with white voters.

Nearly one-third of the Arizona population is Hispanic, up from about one-quarter 20 years ago. And while their vote share usually lags behind their proportion of the overall population, Latinos accounted for roughly one in five Arizona voters in 2016, according to various analyses.

Exit polls showed Mrs. Clinton winning Latino voters in Arizona by about two to one in 2016. And in the midterm elections two years ago, Latinos were even more essential to the victory by Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, in a Senate race, supporting her over Ms. McSally by 70 percent to 30 percent, according to exit polls. (Ms. McSally was later appointed to the state’s other Senate seat.)

So far, Mr. Biden does not enjoy quite so commanding a lead among Latinos, according to polls. Some have him equaling Mrs. Clinton’s margins — but analysts say he has room to grow.

Stephanie Valencia, the founder of the political strategy firm EquisLabs, said that Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign during the Democratic primary race had done much to energize voter participation among Hispanic voters, particularly younger women. But Mr. Biden’s campaign, she said, has yet to engender the same level of enthusiasm.

Recent EquisLabs polling of Hispanic voters in Arizona showed his support to be particularly weak among Hispanic men under 50, who were almost as likely to back Mr. Trump as to support Mr. Biden.

“The gender divide, particularly in the Latino community, has been especially vast,” Ms. Valencia said. “That presents a longer-term potential challenge for Democrats.”


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