Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arizona No Longer "Solid Democratic" State, As It Was In 2008; Who Knew?

As Pink would say, who knew?  Politico reported earlier Monday that Arizona is among a dozen states that "shifted from solidly or leaning Democratic to competitive."  Just in the past two years.

These words leapt off the monitor and slapped me in the face!  Did Politico - or, Gallup, upon which the story is based - stumble upon an alternative political universe where red is blue and blue is red.  Of course, it is a mistake.

Apparently, even though Gallup did not use those still-confusing-after-48-years two-letter state abbreviations, Politico confused Arizona for Arkansas.  In fact, according to the venerable Gallup organization, Arizona was "competitive" in 2008 and remained so in 2010.

To be clear, Gallup is not using actual party registration numbers or actual election results; what their numbers and labels are reflecting is how many people who they interviewed in the state during an entire year either identify themselves as being Democrat or Republican or suggest that they lean more towards one party or the other.  Gallup interviewed more than 350,000 adults across the U.S. last year to come up with these numbers - not likely voters or even possible voters; many may not even be registered. 7,660 of those interviews were of Arizonans.

Arizona was defined as "competitive" in 2008 and again last year.   That means that the difference between the two parties' affiliations is less than 5%.  In Arizona last year, 40.0% identified/leaned Democratic, 44.1% Republican.

Interestingly, the Gallup story focuses on how Democrats lost affiliation across the country in the past two years.  However, Arizona's Democratic drop was the third-lowest in the nation.  Only 2.8%.  Nevertheless, Arizona Republicans picked up two congressional seats and swept the statewide offices.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

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