Both Biden And Trump Have Campaign Events In Arizona. How Do They Compare?

By Scott Bourque
Published: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 1:31pm
Updated: Monday, June 22, 2020 - 7:28am

Donald Trump Joe Biden
Shealah Craighead/White House, U.S. Department of State
Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

As President Donald Trump’s campaign prepares to hold a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, the Biden campaign is holding smaller, online events — like a webinar with members of the local Hispanic community on Saturday — aimed at winning over voters who might be excluded by the Trump campaign.

Trump has a dedicated and energized base. But if polling numbers are to be believed, Joe Biden has more supporters — supporters who aren’t nearly as enthusiastic or energetic. 

While Trump plans to hold large campaign rallies to energize his voter base, Biden seems to be taking a different approach: holding smaller, online webinars aimed at winning over the skeptical voters he needs if he wants to win the state’s 11 electoral votes. Political campaign consultant Chuck Coughlin says that while most Republicans are united behind their nominee, the fractured nature of the 2020 Democratic primaries poses an extra layer of challenge for Biden, especially in Arizona.

"There were a lot of candidates in the primary field that connected better with these audiences than Biden did," Coughlin said. "There is a bit of an enthusiasm gap among younger voters and voters of color."

Saturday's Biden campaign event came one day after the campaign announced it had hired its first two full-time employees in Arizona and spent close to $15 million on advertising in battleground states.

"I believe what he’s trying to do is connect better with those constituencies to create enthusiasm amongst them for his candidacy, and hoping to translate that enthusiasm into votes in November that otherwise probably wouldn’t have been there," Coughlin said.

Data from several recent national polls places Arizona squarely in the battleground column. In those polls, Biden sits ahead of Trump, and Democrat Mark Kelly sits ahead of incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who is running to be elected to the seat she was appointed to after the death of Sen. John McCain. Tempe pollster Mike O'Neil says the way things are now, this state could very well land in the Biden column.

"In the case of a close election, Arizona is absolutely in play," O'Neil said. "Right now, all those numbers Arizona suggest that Trump is so depressed that Biden could even carry Arizona."

One of those core groups Biden needs to win over, Coughlin says, are the white, independent suburban voters who split their tickets in 2018: voters who marked their ballots for both Republican Governor Doug Ducey and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Many of these voters are educated women who feel "disaffected by the way the Republican Party has been talking to them," Coughlin said.

"That constituency ... is sellable, is moveable. Those are the people who move in statewide elections," Coughlin said. "In a close race, that cohort will vote for either a Democrat or Republican. It will come down to whether Biden connects with them and talks to them in a convincing way about how he's going to manage the country, or it's going to be about Trump scaring them about how Biden would manage the country."

O'Neil agrees - but thinks Trump has already lost that group.

"The biggest single key group that (Trump) has lost with, big time, is moderate, suburban, Republican women," he said.

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