Romney becomes latest GOP candidate to win Arizona

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 1:16 am •  Published: November 7, 2012
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The tight race between Obama and McCain in Arizona four years ago reflected the growing number of Hispanics in the state and other changes in the population. Arizona's electorate now is split nearly evenly between Republicans, Democrats and independents.

In the tight U.S. House races, Republican Martha McSally made a surprise late rally to take the lead in the 2nd Congressional District race against Rep. Ron Barber. Republican Jonathan Paton had a slight lead against Democratic Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st District, while the battle between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Vernon Parker for the 9th District showed no sign it would end easily.

In the U.S. Senate race, Carmona fared better among Hispanics than Flake, who scored well among older voters, according to the exit poll.

Hispanic voters favored Obama, while Romney had support among almost three-quarters of white voters. Both Latino men and women favored Obama, according to exit poll results.

Constantino Lopez doesn't believe that either Romney or Obama could represent Hispanics well. But the registered independent cast his vote for Obama on the belief that people have become more optimistic about the economy under his administration.

"I believe we're on a rebound, and pretty soon there's going to be more people being full-time employed," he said.

Arizona has been seen as ground zero for the immigration debate. SB1070 was passed in 2010 amid voter frustration with Arizona's standing as the busiest illegal entry point into the country.

Exit poll results showed that Arizona voters would rather give illegal immigrants a chance to apply for legal status than be deported. That belief wasn't necessarily higher among those who supported Romney or Obama.

The survey of 1,634 Arizona voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 10 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 1,050 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.