Will Arizona become a swing state? Hillary Clinton officially leads Donald Trump in a new Arizona poll

Although Clinton is ahead and just outside the margin of error, more than 20 percent of voters remain undecided on who they will cast a ballot for in this election

The Arizona Republic, the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and Cronkite News teamed up to conduct a poll on the presidential election and some of the results tell a tale Arizona hasn't told since 1996.

The poll was compiled on a litany of issues, including the presidential election, and are almost too close to call. For now, at least, democratic nominee Hillary Clinton looks like the front runner — but only by a couple percentage points.

The president of ASU Young Democrats, Austin Marshall, said he isn't surprised by Clinton's position in the polls.

"It's exciting stuff," he said. "It's something that Arizona Democrats have been saying for a while."

Although Arizona has long been a bastion for conservative policy, Marshall said the fact that Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Clinton and Michelle Obama are all making Arizona campaign stops this week shows that it could be a swing state. 

"I think it shows that Arizona is not a state to be taken for granted by anyone," Marshall said.

According to The Arizona Republic's synthesis, the live telephone survey reached approximately 811 likely voters across the state. "Likely voters" were pulled from an updated database of registered voters, including those who were registered for the Arizona primary election. The survey was 27 questions and was offered in both English and Spanish.

Thom Reilly, the director of the Morrison Institute, said he is confident in the sample as a representative of Arizona's political stance. 

"If these individuals voted in the primary, they're likely to vote in the presidential election," Reilly said.

Of those who were surveyed, 39 percent intend to vote for Clinton and 33.9 percent for Donald Trump. Additionally, libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is supported by 5.9 percent of respondents and less than one percent of those surveyed intend to vote for the Green Party's candidate, Jill Stein. The results have a 4.9 percent margin of error.

Clinton has a 5.1-point lead over Trump, which is just outside the margin of error.

"Based on our August poll, it appears that the Clinton base and the Trump base are holding in Arizona," Reilly said.

Political science professor at ASU David Wells said Arizona could swing either way in the election, depending on the results of the last presidential debate. 

"Arizona, Iowa and Ohio appear to be three toss-up states in the election," Wells said. "Tonight's debate may be Trump's last chance to demonstrate to the American people a sufficient level of control and maturity that most voters expect of presidential candidates."

Out of the survey, 20.7 percent of respondents were still undecided when they were asked who they would be voting for between the dates of Oct. 10 and 15.

James Arwood, a 21-year-old democratic precinct committeeman, said this election has spawned a less-than-friendly political landscape. 

"I think the climate of our politics today has created a much more hostile environment than previous elections," Arwood said. "This election, more than ever, has suppressed open dialogue for fear of retribution. I think very well students may be feeling undecided because it is a difficult conversation to have with others."

Ryan Boyd, an ASU senior public service and public policy major, is a registered Independent who intends on voting for Clinton this November. However, the presidential poll wasn't exactly what he expected it to be.

"I am personally a tad surprised given that Republicans still hold a sizable lead in Arizona," Boyd said. "Independents are usually evenly split and people, even in this election, tend to stick with their guts and party registration."

Editors note: James Arwood was a previous employee of The State Press. He no longer has any affiliation with this organization.


Reach the opinion editor at Kendra.Penningroth@asu.edu or follow @KPenningroth on Twitter.

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