As the country inches closer toward Election Day, voters are homing in on specific issues that may decide the fate of Congress and several state governments in November.
The Washington Examiner is tracking which issues are on the top of voters’ minds as they prepare to head to the polls, particularly in key battleground states that could bring a shift in power to the federal government. Specifically, we’re tracking how voters are researching our top five issues, including abortion, crime, education, inflation, and taxes, and how these interests fluctuate as we get closer to Election Day.
Below you can track the interest of each of our key issues on a rolling 30-day basis in the battleground state of Arizona. The Washington Examiner will be updating this page as interests and voting concerns change.
Key races we’re watching in the state:
Arizona has several high-profile races on the ballot this year that may have national implications for the power balance of Congress and how presidential elections will be held in the state.
Republicans are eyeing the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) who will face Trump-backed challenger Blake Masters for a seat the GOP is hoping to flip in November. The race, once deemed a toss-up, is likely to lean Democratic, according to some analysts, giving Kelly an advantage heading into the general election.
Further down the ballot, Arizona voters are set to choose a new governor, which could have an impact on how presidential elections are held in the state, especially after claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020 that Trump allies claim are responsible for the former president’s loss. That issue has taken center stage in the Arizona governor’s race as GOP candidate Kari Lake has focused much of her campaign on rejecting the results of the 2020 election.
She is set to face Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs, who currently serves as the Arizona secretary of state and has defended the state’s administration of the 2020 election.
At the top of Arizona voters’ minds as of Sept. 2 is education, according to internet searches recorded and analyzed by Google Trends.
Education emerged as a top concern among voters over the last month, spiking in mid-August as the new school year began. Arizona voters are particularly concerned about increased funding for education as well as reducing financial barriers for students going to college, according to a survey conducted by the Center for the Future of Arizona.
Google searches relating to education peaked twice during the last week of August, likely coinciding with the beginning of the school year. The two spikes in web traffic reflect a larger trend as national Google searches on education increased dramatically near the end of last month.
Crime has long been a focal point in the midterm elections, with Democrats and Republicans making clear distinctions about how they’d address rising crime rates nationwide.
The issue of crime hasn’t been central to the midterms dialogue in Arizona, but it has become a focal point for several campaigns nationwide. It’s not clear how it will play out in the Grand Canyon State, but Republican candidates may have an advantage because they are typically considered to be better at handling crime, according to an April Washington Post/ABC News poll.
That sentiment has shifted in previous years, as voters used to consider both parties equal on the matter.
Taxes emerged as one of the top issues for Arizona voters throughout the month of August before dropping off and falling to the third-most researched topic by the beginning of September. Google searches related to taxes spiked on Aug. 30 and then again on Sept. 1, likely coinciding with the announcement of President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
The issue of taxes has also been in the spotlight in Arizona after the state Supreme Court ruled in August that tax cuts enacted by state lawmakers cannot be repealed by voters through a ballot referendum. Education advocates sought to block a decision from the state legislature that approved tax cuts mainly benefiting wealthy taxpayers in the state.
Abortion has remained a low-researched topic among Arizona voters throughout the month of August, according to Google Trends data. Top searches related to abortion among Arizona residents included queries on “abortion laws in Arizona” and “is abortion legal in Arizona?”
Abortion is currently legal in Arizona, with a new law set to take place on Sept. 24 that bans the procedure after 15 weeks gestation. Under state law, it is legal for Arizona residents to obtain an abortion in another state.
Abortion emerged as a top issue among voters nationwide over the summer after the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending nationwide access to abortions and instead returning the decision of its legality to the states. The issue has particularly taken center stage in the attorney general’s race because the position will largely be responsible for interpreting the state’s new abortion law.
Despite being the top concern at the beginning of August, inflation has fallen to be one of Arizona voters’ least important priorities as of Sept. 2.
Republicans have long focused on inflation as a key voter concern in the midterm election cycle, pointing to soaring inflation rates under Biden. However, inflation has become less of a concern after the passage of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, offering Democrats relief and posing challenges to Republicans as they formulate new strategies.