One of the more stunning early calls Tuesday night was Fox News calling Arizona for Joe Biden with just over 70 percent of the vote in. I am rarely stunned, but I was by this call, made shortly after Fox’s election desk had delayed calling Florida for several hours in defiance of the actual votes and statistical impossibility of Biden coming back in the state.
Both of those decisions left many of Fox’s viewers scratching their heads, as it changed the narrative and trajectory of the night. The Arizona call resulted in nothing less than fury from the Trump campaign.
There were many interesting calls made Tuesday night at crucial times, so what is the reality of what is taking place in Arizona today? There has been real confusion surrounding the state’s returns, caused in some part by Edison Research releasing incorrect numbers showing that 98 percent of the ballots in Arizona had been cast already with Biden leading by 300,000 votes. Edison’s numbers, of course, were incorrect: only 84 to 86 percent had voted at the time.
Fact is, upwards of 600,000 votes, mostly early, in-person ballots, are still being counted in the Grand Canyon State today. That’s one of the reasons CNN and ABC News haven’t called the state for Biden. Yet Fox refuses to retract its Arizona call.
While Trump does currently trail Biden by just over 90,000 votes, the numbers coming in on vote breakdown are, according to the Trump campaign, holding true to Election Day votes, which broke about 65 percent to 35 percent for the president. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said on a call Wednesday with reporters that “based on the math we’ve been seeing as these late ballots are counted, anywhere from two-thirds to 70 percent of these votes are coming to the president.”
If true, and if the campaign’s numbers are right, Trump would in fact overtake Biden in Arizona. Depending on the percentage of how the remaining votes break, whether it’s 58 percent or 60 percent or 65 percent, the Trump campaign might be able to squeeze out a vote margin of anywhere from 7,000 to 30,000 votes—perhaps as many as 50,000—shifting Arizona’s 11 electoral votes into Trump’s column.
If that were to happen—and while it is doable, it is not guaranteed—it would lead the Trump campaign to believe victory was actually achievable. If Trump were to win Georgia and North Carolina, both of which are likely, it would all come down to Pennsylvania.
While Trump had a significant lead in the Keystone State on Wednesday, no one is under any illusion that he will hold on to that margin. Still, the Trump campaign feels confident, no matter the games being played in Pennsylvania by Democrats, that they can win that state by 40,000 votes.
What would that mean? Regardless of what eventually happens with challenges in Wisconsin and Michigan, if Trump can flip Arizona and hold Pennsylvania, that would get him to 278 votes and another four years.