Biden leads Trump in battleground Arizona

Biden is up by 5 points in a new NBC News/Marist poll, while Democrats also enjoy a double-digit lead in the state's Senate contest.
Image: A woman walks past a sign directing voters to a polling place in the Phoenix
A woman walks past a sign directing voters to a polling place in Phoenix on Nov. 2, 2010.Joshua Lott / Reuters file

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By Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — With 100 days until the election, Democrat Joe Biden holds a 5-point lead over President Donald Trump in Arizona, with more voters saying the former vice president would do a better job handing the coronavirus pandemic and race relations, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll.

Democrats also enjoy a double-digit advantage in Arizona's key Senate contest between Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly.

But more of Trump's voters strongly back him than Biden's supporters do, and the president holds a significant lead on handling the economy.

In the new poll, 50 percent of registered voters say they would vote for Biden, while 45 percent back Trump, a difference that is within the survey's margin of error.

Just 4 percent are undecided or pick another candidate.

Back in March, the last time NBC News/Marist measured Arizona, Biden topped the president by only 1 point, 47 percent to 46 percent.

Biden's lead over Trump is fueled by his advantages among Latinos (61 percent support him, versus 31 percent for the president), voters under 45 (57 percent to 36 percent), women (57 percent to 38 percent), independents (55 percent to 38 percent) and whites with college degrees (51 percent to 44 percent).

Trump, meanwhile, is ahead among men (53 percent to 43 percent), those ages 45 and older (52 percent to 45 percent), whites (49 percent to 46 percent) and whites without college degrees (52 percent to 43 percent).

"With 11 electoral votes in play, the 2020 battle for the White House goes through the Sunbelt," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said of Arizona.

"Democrats also have a potential Senate gain given Kelly's wide lead over McSally," Miringoff added.

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As Marist has worked to better reach respondents outside metropolitan areas, 60 percent of the registered voters in the poll are from Maricopa County (Phoenix), 16 percent are from Pima County (Tucson), and 24 percent are from the rest of the state.

Forty-three percent of voters describe themselves as living in big cities, 20 percent are from the suburbs, 27 percent are from small cities or small towns, and 10 percent are from rural areas.

What's more, 38 percent of all voters have college degrees, while 62 percent don't.

And 31 percent of voters identify as Republican, 26 percent as Democrats and 40 percent as independents.

Trump trails on the coronavirus, leads on the economy

The NBC News/Marist poll — conducted July 14-22 — comes as the coronavirus has battered Arizona, infecting more than 150,000 residents and killing more than 3,000 in the state.

Forty-nine percent of voters say the pandemic is getting worse in Arizona, while 18 percent say it's getting better, and 32 percent say things are staying about the same.

Biden leads Trump by 11 points among registered voters on which candidate would do a better job handling the coronavirus, 48 percent to 37 percent.

Biden leads by 20 points on which candidate would better handle race relations, 53 percent to 33 percent.

But Trump holds a 20-point lead on which candidate would better handle the economy, 55 percent to 35 percent.

Trump's job rating among registered voters in the state is 44 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove, according to the poll.

That's a reversal from March, when 48 percent approved, versus 46 percent who disapproved.

The job rating for Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is 39 percent approve, while 53 percent disapprove.

Trump holds the edge in enthusiasm

Despite Biden's lead in the horse race and his advantage in handling the coronavirus, Trump holds the edge in enthusiasm.

Seventy-four percent of Trump's backers in the poll strongly support him, versus 61 percent of Biden's backers who say the same of him.

Among all Arizona voters in the poll, 41 percent have a favorable view of Trump, while 57 percent have an unfavorable view (-16).

That's compared with 42 percent who have a favorable view of Biden, versus 52 percent who have an unfavorable view (-10).

Among voters who dislike both candidates, 56 percent say they're voting for Biden, while 29 percent are voting for Trump.

Kelly is ahead of McSally by 12 points in the Senate race

In Arizona's Senate contest, the NBC News/Marist poll shows Kelly leading McSally by 53 percent to 41 percent, a difference that is outside the survey's margin of error.

Back in March, Kelly was ahead by 3 points, 48 percent to 45 percent.

Kelly enjoys many of the same demographic advantages Biden does — just by wider margins.

He leads McSally among Latinos (67 percent to 24 percent), independents (62 percent to 32 percent) and women (61 percent to 33 percent).

The NBC News/Marist poll of Arizona of 1,020 adults, which was conducted July 14-22, has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.7 percentage points. The margin of error among the 826 registered voters the poll surveyed is plus-minus 4.1 percentage points.