By GARY LANGER
(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump’s economic argument pushes back against Joe Biden’s pitch that he can better handle the coronavirus pandemic in Florida and Arizona alike, producing closely divided presidential contests in both states in new ABC News/Washington Post polls.
The critical Arizona Senate race, where the Democrats are pinning their hopes for control of the chamber, is also essentially tied in the new survey there.
Registered voters in Florida split almost precisely evenly for the president, 47%-48%, Trump versus Biden, while it’s 51%-47% among those most likely to vote. In Arizona, the presidential race stands at 47%-49% among registered voters and 49%-48% among likely voters. None of these differences is statistically significant.
Ditto for the Arizona Senate contest, where a 50%-45% match among registered voters between Democrat Mark Kelly and incumbent Republican Martha McSally is a still-tighter 49%-48% among likely voters.
The result in Florida befits its swing-state status, with sharp differences across regions and demographic groups. A challenge for Biden is his tepid 13-point lead among Hispanics in the state (using registered voters for an adequate sample size); Hillary Clinton won Florida Hispanics by 27 percentage points in 2016, yet narrowly lost the state. Trump also does better than elsewhere in Florida among college-educated whites — though far better still with their non-college counterparts.
In Arizona, the closeness of the contest is a different story, given that the state has voted for a Democratic candidate for president just once since 1952 — in 1996. There, Biden leads 61%-34% among Hispanic registered voters, leads among independents and is stronger than in Florida with college graduates. Trump makes it back by way of an advantage in party loyalty; among Arizona likely voters, Republicans outnumber Democrats by 7 points.
In both states, while Biden is strong among moderates, fewer liberals appear as likely voters compared with the 2016 exit polls. Conservatives account for nearly 4 in 10 voters; liberals, about 2 in 10.
Interviews for this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, were conducted Sept. 15 to 20, overlapping the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There were no significant differences in partisan vote preferences before and after her death.
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