The RealClearPolitics polling average, as of Tuesday morning, showed President Donald Trump down by 2.2 points in the swing state of Arizona.
Perhaps just as importantly, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly led incumbent GOP Sen. Martha McSally by an average of 4.2 points in a race that could tip the upper chamber.
Both races were closing, although that hasn’t been uncommon for swing states in the run-up to the election Tuesday.
To be clear, the polls are far more scientific indicators than a Trump “car rally” — even one that drew several thousand vehicles.
Still, if I were rubbing my hands together with cartoon-villain glee over the prospect of turning Arizona blue this November, the fact there was not one but two car rallies that featured that many vehicles would be concerning data points when looking at voter enthusiasm.
According to AZFamily.com, an estimated 7,000 vehicles showed up in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria on Sunday for what supporters in Arizona called “The Trump Train.”
“The event began near Lake Pleasant Road and the 74 Sunday morning. Food trucks were set up at the staging area, along with music acts, speakers, and vendors selling Trump T-shirts and other MAGA memorabilia,” the outlet reported.
— Melina Gabriel (@melinaloveso) October 26, 2020
This made some people unhappy — including, apparently, Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Trump is, indeed, the country’s No. 1 — thanks for pointing that out, Mr. Hopkins.
“Pulled up on the right-hand side of his car and it was him with both hands in the air giving the bird to everybody who was driving by,” Mark Forgy told AZFamily. “I posted some pictures and someone goes, ‘Hey, that’s DeAndre Hopkins,’ and I was like, ‘No way.’”
“I decided to tweet him, ‘Hey, stay classy.’ Man, this, no matter what side you’re on, I have friends on both sides, I’m not going to disrespect that.”
AZFamily reached out to Hopkins but hasn’t heard back.
The rally came one week after a similar event organized by Trump supporters drew thousands of vehicles and stretched up to 30 miles long at points, according to KSAZ-TV.
According to AZFamily, the president plans to visit the state again Wednesday.
While Biden still leads in the polls, Republicans say Trump — unlike Biden — is spending time on the ground in the state.
“He’s here to drive turnout, and Biden is allowing him to do that because he is not showing up here,” Republican political consultant Marcus Dell’Artino told the outlet.
In terms of voter engagement, that’s a major issue for the Democrats in two of the biggest races on Nov. 3.
In the presidential election, winning Arizona would be a massive boost for Biden. Not having to worry about it being close over the next week would be a nice thing, too. Arizona would give him a wider margin of error in the Midwest states, where Trump overperformed polls four years ago — and it could let him spend more time there.
In the Kelly-McSally race, a loss in Arizona would be a major blow to the Democrats; even if they flip the upper chamber, the assumption was that Kelly would be a senator for the next six years.
The polls say that both of these things should happen. And yet, when it comes to voter engagement, it’s worth noting that the president wasn’t even appearing here. This was simply Trump fans and Republicans showing up — to be seen as having shown up for the president and the GOP. Voter engagement could indicate otherwise.
In short, if you’re Joe Biden and the Democrats, these cars could end up being your worst nightmare.
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