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Biden holds on to 8-point lead among likely Arizona voters in new poll

A poll out Monday shows Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by eight points in Arizona, a weakening Republican stronghold that hasn’t gone to a Democrat in a presidential election since Bill Clinton in 1996.

Biden got the nod from 49% of likely Arizona voters versus 41% for the president in The New York Times/Siena College poll, a virtual repeat of numbers from the same poll Sept. 18, which showed Biden leading Trump 49% to 40%.

The poll also had a Democrat — retired space shuttle commander and Navy pilot Mark Kelly — leading Republican U.S. Senator Martha McSally 50% to 39%, setting up the potential for Arizona to have two Democratic senators for the first time since 1953.

Biden is building his lead via Arizona’s Republicans and independents.

While 95% of Democrats back the longtime former Delaware senator, just 90% of Republicans back Trump. Among independents — roughly a third of Arizona voters — Biden has the support of 53% and Trump 28%, the poll showed.

The poll showed Arizonans favor Biden to handle the pandemic (54% to 40%), unify the county (52% to 37%), maintain law and order (49% to 46%), choose a Supreme Court justice (49% to 44%), and protect people with pre-existing conditions (55% top 38%). Only on the economy did Arizonans trust Trump more (49% to 46%), the poll showed.

“Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen the first presidential debate, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice and the president infected with Covid-19. Despite all that, the presidential race for Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes is unchanged,” said Dr. Don Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute.

“Voters continue to overwhelmingly back the candidate of their party, and independents continue to strongly favor Biden.”

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The same picture is largely true in the Senate race.

Kelly has the support of 90% of Democrats and 53% of independents, while McSally has just 83% support from her own party and only 31% among independents, the poll shows.

The Senate race is a special election to serve out the term of longtime Senator John McCain, who died in office in 2018. Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally after she lost her 2018 bid for Arizona’s other Senate seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

McSally, a former U.S. representative and the nation’s first woman combat pilot, represented many of the constituents of Kelly’s wife, former Representative Gabby Giffords, who retired after she was shot in the head by a psychotic gunman in January 2011. McSally ran unsuccessfully to replace Giffords, eventually winning a seat in a newly redrawn district covering most of the same area as Giffords’ former district.

The New York Times/Siena College poll of 655 likely Arizona voters contains a margin of error of +/- 4.2%.

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