Just In: Biden Opens Up 9-Point Lead Over Trump in Arizona, But Pollster Says ‘Rampaging’ Pandemic Could Help Trump

Donald Trump and Joe Biden speaking to reporters.

Scott Olson/Mark Wilson, Getty

Former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has added to his lead over President Donald Trump in a new poll of Arizona likely voters, but the pollster says that if the coronavirus is still “rampaging” in November, that could be an advantage for Trump.

In an OHPI Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) poll published Tuesday, Biden leads with 52 percent of the vote to Trump’s 43 percent, Biden’s highest level of support to date in this poll. Last month, Trump was also at 43 percent, but Biden’s lead was just six points at 49 percent.

The poll also found an “enthusiasm gap,” with 70 percent of Trump supporters “extremely enthusiastic” to vote in November, versus 60 percent for Biden. That gap caused Jacob Joss, data analyst for the polling outfit, to caution that a resurgent or unencumbered Covid-19 pandemic could benefit Trump at the voting booth:

“If Coronavirus is still rampaging through the country in November, campaigns may struggle to turn out voters on Election Day,” says Jacob Joss, data analyst at OHPI, “That task is going to be made even more difficult if a candidate’s supporters are not enthusiastic about voting for them in the first place. While the president faces a significant deficit, in these unprecedented times he is by no means out of this race.”

There is also a possibility that a rampaging pandemic in November could have its own effect on voter enthusiasm. Additionally, this poll was taken before Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Biden, and Biden has yet to select a running mate, two other factors that could have an effect on the enthusiasm number.

And while Trump has publicly opposed mail-in ballots, Arizona does allow all of its citizens to sign up for a permanent early voting list — which automatically sends them a mail-in ballot for each election.

In any case, polling in the presidential race has been extremely volatile — Biden is tied with Trump at 42 percent in the latest national Fox News poll just a week after opening a nine-point lead. Trump only gained two points, but 7 percent shifted from Biden to undecided. The coronavirus has upended every corner of American life, and political polling appears to be no different.

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