Abstract: Both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, hope to grab Arizona's 11 electoral votes in the upcoming presidential election. The final outcome of this battle may hinge on three, key issues.
Over the next few months, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will spend inordinate amounts of time and money to secure Americans' votes in the upcoming presidential election. Both sides will focus a lot of attention on Arizona.
According to Real Clear Politics, Republicans have won every presidential election in the state since 1996. However, per the Census Bureau, the state's Hispanic population has been growing steadily over the last decade. It accounted for 29.6 percent of Arizona's population in 2010, up from 25.3 percent in 2000. This is an important trend, given that, per Bloomberg, a large majority of Hispanic voters favor Obama. According to Real Clear Politics, the president believes that, with the help of the Latino community, he can grab the state's 11 electoral votes in the November election.
Obama still has some work to do if he wants to collect Arizona's electoral votes. Real Clear Politics compiled data from three polls taken between April 10 and May 20, which show Romney ahead of Obama by 6 percent. The most recent of these polls, taken between May 17 and May 20, has Romney in front of Obama by 7 percentage points.
However, there are still almost five months to go before voters go to the polls, and a lot can change in that time. The final outcome may hinge on three, key issues.
The unemployment rate will be a major issue in all of the battleground states, including in Arizona. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its May unemployment estimates and the news is positive. 8.2 percent of the state's citizens were unemployed in May, down from 8.6 percent in March of this year. However, that figure is still quite high when compared with the state's unemployment rates for most of this century. Additionally, per the Mohave Valley News, some areas in Arizona, such as Yuma County, are dealing with double digit unemployment rates.
The Housing Market
Per a National Association of Realtors report, the housing market crash impacted large numbers of Arizona homeowners. Many people saw their home values drop significantly while others were forced to abandon their residences. The current market outlook is not rosy, but it is improving. According to The Wall Street Journal, housing prices in Arizona have remained relatively stable over the last year, which is a welcome relief after several years of falling home prices. In another sign of growth, the Phoenix Business Journal notes that Arizona ranked third among states with regards to its year over year increase in May construction jobs.
Obama recently signed an executive order allowing some young, undocumented immigrants to remain in the country legally. Per the Bloomberg article, a June 17 poll indicates that the president's actions have boosted his standing among Hispanic voters in Arizona and in other swing states. Also of note, per Hispanic Business, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Arizona's stringent immigration law by June 25. Per the article, the justices' decision with regards to this statute may significantly impact the presidential race.
-- Anthony Hopper
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