One of the nation’s best-known pollsters called out news networks that rushed to declare an Arizona victory for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Nate Silver, the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight, said on his site’s live blog Thursday that outlets such as The Associated Press and Fox News that named Biden the Arizona victor Tuesday should have retracted those calls.
“I don’t know, I guess I’d say that Biden will win Arizona if you forced me to pick, but I sure as heck don’t think the state should have been called by anyone, and I think the calls that were previously made should be retracted now,” Silver said.
He said the fallout for that call could be a premature victory declaration for the former vice president.
“For the time being, if you made the mistake (IMO) of calling AZ in the first place, you don’t want being part of what gets Biden over the top to 270,” Silver said on Twitter.
According to Newsweek, Fox News stood by its call of the Grand Canyon State, while the AP stated, “After an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded there were not enough outstanding to allow Trump to catch up.”
Should Biden win Arizona, he’ll be the first Democrat to take the state since Bill Clinton in 1996. Before Clinton, the last Democrat to win Arizona was Harry Truman in 1948.
Silver deduced that 44 percent of Arizona’s remaining 450,000 mail-in ballots to be counted are Republican, 23 percent Democrat and “33 percent independent or other parties.”
He said those votes in most states would mean a Biden shoe-in, but in Arizona they’ll likely go to President Donald Trump.
“Republicans have a fairly strong mail voting program in Arizona and — this is the key part — the mail ballots that were returned later in the process (the ones yet to be counted) were significantly redder than the ones that came in earlier on, as Democrats sent their votes in early, ” Silver said.
He said this could narrow the 93,000-vote Biden lead and create “a 21-point GOP edge, which would put Trump on track to tie things up.”
Silver cautioned that Arizona “has a lot of ancestral Republicans who have now turned into swing voters” and “Biden also had a big lead among independents in polls.”
The Arizona Republic also weighed in on the mail-in votes Thursday, focusing especially on an estimated 140,000 in Maricopa County.
“Trump won the batches of ballots from Maricopa County counted Wednesday and early Thursday by a roughly 57-40 margin over former Vice President Joe Biden,” it reported.
The Maricopa County Elections Department said Thursday its full results should be available by 7 p.m. Friday. It also set up 24-hour livestream.
Another pollster, Paul Bentz, told The Republic that the president “needs to win 57.6 percent of the 470,000 votes that The Arizona Republic estimates remain to be counted.”
Bentz broke down the remaining ballots, saying Trump “still has a shot,” but those votes “must be spread across all Arizona’s 15 diverse counties, which include areas that are very blue: Pima, Coconino and Santa Cruz counties.”
“The first step in the long journey was a successful one in Trump’s tightrope walk,” Bentz said.
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