Presidential

Trump's immigration message may have impact on Arizona voters

Alicia Acuna reports

 

Will Donald Trump's immigration message make him vulnerable in the traditionally red state of Arizona? Hillary Clinton's campaign has been fighting for the western prize despite a Trump lead in the polls.

The America's Election Headquarters 2016 Scorecard rates Arizona as leaning Republican and eleven Electoral votes at stake.  The Real Clear Politics average in Arizona shows Trump 46% and Clinton 42%.  

Clinton has a strong ground game advantage that started early, including more than 30 offices in the state.

The campaign has sent big hitter surrogates like First Lady Michelle Obama, Chelsea Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders to the Grand Canyon state, in addition to running mate Senator Tim Kaine.

Yet, only one Democrat, Bill Clinton, has carried the state since Harry Truman did in 1948.

Throughout the race, Trump has made immigration a cornerstone, hot button issue.

Border state Arizona has the fifth-highest number of eligible Hispanic voters in all of the states and it's estimated the Latino vote could top 20 percent for the first time.

Chuck Coughlin, political analyst and president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants in Phoenix, says, "The very simplistic rhetoric that you hear from the Trump campaign about build the wall, ship 'em home, it just doesn't resonate with Arizona voters by and large. It resonates with about 30 percent of the Republican base."

Republicans have an advantage in voter registration but had been under-performing by 2 to 3 percent, according to a recent post by HighGround. The GOP appears to be making up for it after a week of solid returns and turnout effort.

HighGround also says turnout among independents and unaffiliated voters has been slightly lower, adding, "There are a few explanations that might fit:  perhaps it is because they tend to vote later or maybe it is that no one has a concentrated turnout drive just focused on independents."

If the election results are mixed on the East Coast and all eyes turn to this Western battleground, how secure is the vote?  This past summer the state was a target of what's believed to be a foreign entity that tried unsuccessfully to hack the state's voter database.

Secretary of State of the State of Arizona Michele Reagan told Fox News, "It'd be very, very hard to rig the vote itself and we'd be able to back it up with those paper audit trails."  For example, voting machines and results do not transmit over the internet.

The secretary, who just recently met with federal counterterrorism officials said, "False information and fake information, is just as dangerous as hacking election systems and so we're really on guard for that and we're really watching our systems as well.  That's probably my biggest fear, much bigger than the vote itself being hacked."

Alicia Acuna joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1997 and currently serves as a general assignment reporter based in the network's Denver bureau.