AZ : Romney, for now

Arizona presidential politics have been pretty darn predictable over the last 60 years. Except for 1996–when the Grand Canyon State gave the electoral nod to Bill Clinton–Arizona voters have selected Republican presidential candidates for the past six decades.

The state became the epicenter for the nation’s immigration debate when it passed tough new regulations (along with an executive order from Gov. Jan Brewer) that–among other things–expanded law enforcement’s parameters over what constitutes “reasonable suspicion”of  illegal immigrant status. Brewer became a pin cushion for those who disagreed with the state’s approach, and the issue continues to be a major force here. Some pundits are predicting that immigration could ultimately be the catalyst causing a win for a Democrat presidential candidate for only the second time since 1952.

Still, Arizona is certainly not a one-trick pony when it comes to issues of interest to the electorate, and GOP hopefuls believe voters here will stay the course in the fall.

With that in mind, we asked 1,155 likely GOP voters in Arizona the following main question:

If the Republican Primary Election were held today, for whom would you vote?

Here are the results:

Type: Automated - Date: 2/19-20//2012 - Participants: 1,155 Likely GOP voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.88%
 
Gingrich
Paul
Romney
Santorum
Undecided
 
ALL VOTERS15%8%37%27%13%
BY GENDER
Female16%6%37%27%13%
Male13%10%37%27%13%
BY AGE
18-2432%23%26%10%10%
25-3416%18%36%14%16%
35-4416%21%28%23%12%
45-5412%7%33%37%12%
55-6415%10%36%29%10%
65+14%5%40%27%14%

While Mitt Romney may be enjoying a 10-point lead today (some say largely attributable to the sizable Mormon population in Arizona), it’s hard to ignore Rick Santorum’s impressive track record of moving up rapidly at times. Clearly, the attention that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu’s controversy is creating is drawing the spotlight from the news cycles that would normally be focused on the GOP presidential hopefuls.

If (when?) Sheriff Babeau’s coverage dies down, there may be enough energy left over to move some numbers here.

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NOTE: This poll was paid for by We Ask America Polls™. The information has not been shared with any public official, candidate, cause or campaign.

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