The state of Arizona has always been almost a battleground state but never really became one. The Maricopa County, carrying most of the votes has always voted republican but is not dominantly republican, the rest of the counties are also split between democrats, republicans and independents. Despite all these factors however, the state still leans towards republican. We take a look at why.
This county carries more than 60% of Arizona’s electorate implying that the candidate that carries Maricopa almost always wins in Arizona. To get this into perspective, The County has voted for a republican president every single election year since 1952. However, what makes matter more confusing is the fact that the current mayor of Phoenix is a democrat. Needless to say, the county is home to Phoenix which is the country’s fourth most populous city. The numbers there really do speak for themselves.
A brief look at the election history of Arizona shows a bias towards republican as compared to democrats. The governors and presidential candidates have always been favored when on the republican side. In Obama against Romney for example, the latter was a strong favorite to carry Arizona meaning that the state is not a true competitive state yet perhaps due to the voting patterns of certain groups. When democrats win in Arizona, it’s usually by a very small margin as was the case with the victories of Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Harry Truman in 1948.
The suburbs in major cities
The largest city in Arizona (Phoenix) skews towards democrats. However, the surrounding suburbs such as Mesa, Chandler and Scottsdale are known to be strongly republican. This is in addition to the significantly large Mormon community in the region known as the East Valley. Add this to the dominance of the republicans in the South Eastern and Western regions and the entire state seems to lean towards republican.
History favors republicans
Arizona was the only state that stayed republican in the 1952-1992 period where republican candidates carried Arizona in the presidential elections. This shows the state having started with very strong republican roots and even though the state of affairs seems to be gradually changing, it might take significant time before the state can lean towards democrats. However, as political analysts point out, despite the state leaning towards republican, the general feel of the people is conservative with ‘a strong libertarian view’.
The current state of Hispanics
Hispanics comprise about 30% of the state’s population and are generally democrats. However, despite this large figure, they comprise only 25% of the population that actually vote. Approximately a third of them cannot vote since they are undocumented. This implies that the voting bloc that could give democrats an edge over republicans in Arizona do not currently have the capacity to do so. This leaves the state leaning towards republicans, perhaps until the voting patterns change to favor democrats. Recent voter statistics show that there is huge voter turnout lag among Hispanics who are documented and can participate in elections.