Trump and Clinton's unexpected presidential election battle
We are in the home stretch of the 2016 presidential race, with just three weeks until Election Day. As expected, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns have been zeroing in on crucial swing states — one of them being Nevada. But this election has also brought an unexpected battle: the one over Arizona.
Nevada is a key battleground state. Clinton won the Democratic caucus with 52.6 percent. Trump won the Republican caucus with 45.9 percent. The state has six electoral votes.
In the last ten elections, it has voted Democrat four times and Republican six times. The numbers are typically very close - in 2012 the breakdown 52.4 percent voting Democrat and 45.7 percent voting Republican. Historically, Nevada has been one of the most accurate states in voting for the winning president. Between 1900 and 2012, the state has voted for the winner 89.66 percent of the time.
Nevada’s population demographics have changed significantly over the last five years. The state has experienced one of the biggest drops in eligible non Hispanic white voters as well as one of the biggest growths of eligible Latino voters in the nation. The Latino vote is expected to be around 20 percent this year. This could potentially make a critical difference for this presidential election.
Nevertheless, demographics do not guarantee an election and the candidates will be battling it out till the end.
On the flip side, there is usually no major battle for Arizona. It is assumed to vote red, since it has only voted a Democrat for president once since 1952. However, this election could bring a historic change.
A poll by NBC News/WSJ/Marist found that Trump was only leading Clinton by 1 point, while a poll by Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News concluded that Clinton was actually leading by 1.6 percent. These numbers have many asking, could Arizona be a swing state this year?
Clinton’s campaign seems to think so. It has increased its spending in Arizona in an effort to flip the state and nab its eleven electoral votes. There are still about 166,000 more Republicans registered than Democrats in Arizona. However, there is also a large number of registered Independents — close to 1.16 million. Polls show that Clinton has a 9 percent point lead among Independent and other voters
Photographer Mark Peterson travelled through both of these states to ask voters what is most important to them in this election.
These photographs were shot on assignment by Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work, “Political Theatre” which looks at the landscape of the American political system, published by Steidl 2016.