US election 2016: Hillary Clinton’s bid for Republican stronghold – Anthony Zurcher 23 October 2016


If Hillary Clinton is going to break through the narrow electoral map that has dominated the US presidential landscape for 16 years, some traditionally conservative states are going to have tilt her way.

If she is going to not just edge past Donald Trump but win in a rout, states like Arizona will have to fall into her column.

The home of the Grand Canyon last went Democratic in 1996, when Bill Clinton carried it.

Before that? Harry S Truman in 1948.

The state has a Republican governor and two Republican senators. Going into this election, it had a solid conservative red hue. Now, however, polls indicate Arizona and its 11 electoral votes (out of 270 needed to win the presidency) aren’t just in play, they may be leaning toward Mrs Clinton.

A recent opinion poll has the Democrat up 5% – and others have her with narrow leads or within the margin of error.

Polls aren’t just the only indicator of shifting winds in the desert, however. Voter registration is up big among Democrats, particularly with the state’s growing Hispanic population. In Maricopa County, which contains Phoenix, the state’s largest city, Democratic activist groups claim more than 150,000 new voters added to the rolls.

Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has downplayed these numbers, telling the Boston Globe that they constitute “wishful thinking” because Hispanics “don’t get out to vote”.

According to Arizona State University political science Professor Richard Herrera, however, there’s reason to think a surge in voter registration will lead to higher turnout.

“Studies have shown that first-time voters as a result of new registration do tend to vote,” he says. “Arizona is definitely a battleground state in 2016.”

The Clinton campaign certainly believes the numbers are real – and is shifting resources accordingly.

It recently announced it would spend $2m on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in the state. Last week, it sent a slew of its top surrogates to help rally party faithful who have long been toward the back of the line when it comes time for national help.

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