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President Joe Biden continues to poll behind former President Donald Trump in Arizona and other swing states that likely will determine the outcome of next year’s election, even though the sitting president has begun campaigning in the state.
The New York Times released new polling data Monday in partnership with Siena College, showing Biden polling behind Trump in five of six key battleground states.
Trump polled 4 percentage points to 10 percentage points ahead of Biden in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Biden led Trump by just 2 points in Wisconsin, according to the poll.
Biden has been polling poorly in Arizona for quite some time, but the new data show him failing to gain ground even after visiting the state in August to name a new national monument and coming back in September to dedicate a library to the late Arizona icon Sen. John McCain. Vice President Kamala Harris was in Flagstaff last month, her third trip to the state this year.
Despite the apparent effort from the administration to focus on the state, the New York Times/Siena College shows Trump leading Biden 49% to 44% in Arizona.
The poll contacted 3,662 registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by telephone Oct. 22 to Nov. 3, 2023. The margin of sampling error for each state is between 4.4 and 4.8 percentage points.
The Trump campaign issued a news release Sunday specifically citing the poll.
"American voters see what is happening, and they are responding by making clear that they want President Donald J. Trump back in the White House," the campaign said.
Trump is facing four criminal indictments but continues to lead GOP rivals in the party's primary race by a comfortable enough margin he plans to skip a third Republican debate this week.
Pollsters noted that voters are concerned with Biden’s age (soon to be 81, compared to Trump at 77) and handling of the economy, but also noted his support among Black and Hispanic voters is trailing, and that the state in the mix where Biden polls strongest, Wisconsin, is the least diverse among them.
Biden targets Hispanic voters, where Trump gaining
The polling was conducted three weeks into a $25 million television and radio campaign in Arizona and other battleground states that the Biden-Harris campaign launched in early October.
A television ad intended to highlight the administration's commitment to the middle class has been running on national cable news channels and local evening news.
The radio campaign targets Hispanic voters with an ad spot called “La Diferencia” that is running in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Stella Rouse is director of the Hispanic Research Center and professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. She said the polling data can be seen as a continuation of a longer trend of Hispanic voters becoming less reliable for Democratic candidates.
She said it’s possible that some of the unfavorable polling for Biden could be from members of the Hispanic community who are witnessing the influx of people coming over the U.S.-Mexico border and the resources required to address that.
“That has resonated with Latinos in borders states and border communities,” she said.She added that much like voters at large, the Hispanic community has concerns about the economy.
“There seems to be a real disconnect with the economy and what they perceive personally,” she said. “What Biden has done in office really has benefitted minorities to a large degree.”
But that’s “not resonating” with voters, she said.
What is resonating, she said, is the messaging from Republicans that that Democrats are willing to turn the U.S. into a “socialist” country, which can be particularly influential to voters who have come to the U.S. for a better life.
Democrats contend they have time to reach voters
Tony Cani, a Democratic strategist in Phoenix not working for the Biden campaign, said the poll so far out from Election Day 2024 didn’t concern him.
“The overall brand of Republican Party is plummeting right now,” he said. “When you look at what is going to be happening in the next year, I would much rather be running as a Democrat for president than as a Republican.”
He said that while Biden and Harris have made recent stops in Arizona, those stops were more formal visits than campaign rallies, which will focus more on things like lowering the price of insulin and jobs created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
“Voters right now have not heard enough about the accomplishments of the Biden administration, and that is the case in Arizona, too,” Cani said. “Even for voters frustrated with politics in general, that does push them closer to Biden.”
Cani expects Arizona to get additional attention from the campaigns in the next year.
“In Arizona, for a Democrat to win, it takes a lot of work. It’s going to be very close, like all of our recent Democratic wins in the state,” he said.
Morgan Dick, the executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, reiterated that a pitched battle remains in the year ahead as the Biden campaign strives to win over voters.
“This is one of many very, very early polls and I don’t think this has taken mine or the (state Democratic Party’s) eyes off the ball of connecting to more voters and reaching out to them early and often on the issues that matter to them and of course finding spots where the Biden-Harris administration’s accomplishments have addressed the issues that matter to Arizona voters,” she said.
“This is what being a battleground state is,” she said. “It is exciting for everybody.”
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Biden vs. Trump polls: Here's why Joe Biden is struggling in Arizona