CBS News poll: Abortion access finds wide support, but inflation and immigration concerns boost Trump in Arizona and Florida

CBS News poll: Abortion access finds wide support, but inflation and immigration concerns boost Trump in Arizona and Florida
CBS News poll: Abortion access finds wide support, but inflation and immigration concerns boost Trump in Arizona and Florida

When Arizona and Florida attracted the national spotlight over their abortion battles, this question arose: Would the issue upend the presidential contests in those states — or offset the drag on President Biden that inflation and the border have had on him nationally?

And the answer, right now, is no. Biden trails in Arizona by 5 points despite winning it last time, and Trump is comfortably up by 9 points in Florida, after winning it twice in the last two cycles.

Because despite broad support for abortion rights in both states, that effect doesn’t all increase to Mr. Biden — or hurt Trump — as much as people’s views on finances and immigration shape the contests.

In Arizona, with a border many believe is in crisis, a majority say Biden has been “too easy” on migrants.

And there’s a perception that things have changed over four years.

Compared to summer 2020, more voters now say recent immigrants from Mexico and Latin America have made life in Arizona worse. And many Hispanic voters say this today too.

And then Trump’s policies are described as putting the interests of current US citizens ahead of the interests of recent immigrants, whereas many Arizonans say Mr. Biden’s policies don’t.

The issue may be hurting Mr. Biden with key demographic groups, including Hispanic voters.

For example, Mr. Biden won a majority of Arizona’s Hispanic voters in 2020, but he is now running even with Trump among them.

Hispanic voters’ attitudes toward the choice and contest look a lot like voters overall: they’re dissatisfied with the economy, think they will be financially better off if Trump wins than say that about Mr. Biden, and are concerned about the border.

And there is a sizable number of Hispanic voters who now say recent immigrants have made Arizona life worse, as well — effectively even with those who say they’ve made it better.

(That said, Arizonans think transplants from other US states have made life worse too.)

Most voters think Trump would take steps to reduce migrant crossings, while most think Mr. Biden would not.

On economics

Far more voters think Trump will make them financially better off if he wins; and in fact, more say Trump cares about their economic struggles in the first place, but both candidates elicit the majority view that they don’t.

That highlights the troubles for the Biden campaign in facing down the effects of inflation, here as elsewhere:

Even as inflation cools in the macro measures, Arizonans overwhelmingly feel prices are going up.

All of which helps Trump to a lead.

There’s a marker that the election denialism and controversies that remained in Arizona’s politics and rhetoric after 2020 are still here. About half of Trump’s current voters would want to challenge the results if he loses. In contrast, the vast majority of Biden’s voters say they’d accept the election results if Trump wins.

Breaking down the impact of abortion

Meanwhile in Florida, the abortion issue isn’t enough to bring that state into “battleground” territory for Mr. Biden — Trump leads his home state fairly comfortably. Much the same dynamic is in play in both states.

Here are some reasons why.

First, while abortion is important, it isn’t as important as the economy and inflation.

Second, support for abortion access — either in principle or expressed as an amendment vote — is high, but there is not a one-to-one connection with voting for Biden.

This is partly because there are sizable numbers of Republicans who support abortion’s legality in at least some cases, but they vote for Trump.

Plus, Trump has distanced himself a bit on the issue, with half of voters neither blaming nor crediting him for Roe’s overturn.

And relatively fewer think Trump would pass a national ban going forward.

The main dynamic appears to hinge on whether or not voters are angry about the overturn of Roe, rather than merely dissatisfied.

And in Arizona, it’s habitual voters, more so than less frequent ones, who feel angry about the overturning of Roe and who are likelier to say the abortion issue in their state is boosting their motivation to turn out this year.

There is majority support in both states for establishing a right to abortion access. In Arizona a potential amendment that would do so, and in Florida one that would, get majority support, although as is often the case with referenda and amendments, there’s a lot of expressed uncertainty and a lot of people who have not heard or read about them yet.

At the moment, Democrats are more likely than Republicans and independents to report having heard about these ballot initiatives.

And while many Democrats say the abortion issue motivates them, Biden still shows overall trouble motivating shares of his regular Democratic base.

Two other Arizona Democrats fare better than Biden — Governor Katie Hobbs gets slight majority approval, and Ruben Gallego is ahead of Kari Lake in a potential Senate match-up. Gallego, among other differences, fares far better than Biden among Hispanic voters.

Meanwhile in Florida, Republican incumbent Rick Scott is comfortably ahead in his potential match-up.

For more on Florida, read here.

These CBS News/YouGov surveys were conducted between May 10-16, 2024. They are based on representative samples of 1,510 adults living in Arizona and 1,576 adults living in Florida. Margins of error for the total sample of adults: Arizona +/-3.3 points and in Florida +/- 3.1 points. Margins of error for registered voters: Arizona +/-3.5 points and Florida +/- 3.9 points.

Arizona toplines

Florida toplines

Anthony Salvanto

Anthony Salvanto, Ph.D., is CBS News’ director of elections and surveys. He oversees all polling across the nation, states and congressional races, and heads the CBS News Decision Desk that estimates outcomes on election nights.

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