Arizona is the Democrats' purple splotch in the Sun Belt

While the Latino vote isn’t a monolith, there are factors that tend to make Arizona’s Latinos more Democratic-leaning. For one thing, the majority of Latinos in Arizona are of Mexican descent, a group that has leaned more Democratic than, say, Cuban Americans. According to data from Equis Research, compared to more Republican-leaning Texas, there’s a higher rate of foreign-born Latinos in Arizona, and they tend to be more anti-Trump. A higher share of Arizona’s Latinos live in more urban areas compared to Texas’s Latinos, another factor that skews their vote more Democratic.

In addition to the population growth of Latinos in Arizona, Democrats say that they’ve also worked to leverage their advantage with the community. “We’ve created an electorate,” Democratic strategist Rodd McLeod said of the party and community groups. He pointed to Arizona’s Permanent Early Voting List — even before the pandemic, about 80 percent of the state voted by mail — as one key to building out the Democratic coalition in the state. Identifying people who are “on the edge of voting or not voting,” McLeod said, helped push out reminders and door-knockers to voters who might not be in the habit of regularly casting a ballot, like some Latino voters.

But ongoing demographic shifts are not the only reason that Arizona is competitive in the 2020 race. White voters are also leaning towards Biden, marking a change from 2016 when Trump won 54 percent of Arizona’s white voters, according to exit polls.

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