Election today; vote centers listed
If the latest poll is any indication, Mitt Romney is going to claim all 29 of Arizona's Republican delegates today, Feb. 28.
In the latest poll of Arizona Republican voters Sunday, Romney held a commanding lead of 43 percent compared to 26 percent for Rick Santorum, 18 percent for Newt Gingrich and 11 percent for Ron Paul. The margin of error in the survey was plus/minus 4.3 percent.
"You can make a fair argument that Romney's already won the Arizona primary," the Sunday pollster, Public Policy Polling, commented in its news release. "Almost half of those planning to vote have already cast their ballots, and Romney has a 48-25 advantage over Santorum with those folks."
In Yavapai County, almost half of the total registered Republicans already had voted by Monday afternoon. The Elections Department reported that 21,433 of the 54,818 registered Republican voters had turned in ballots.
For the first time in history, Yavapai County voters can stop by any polling place in the county to vote today. In the past, they had to vote in their own precincts on Election Day. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Yavapai County Elections Department has set up 30 polling stations in just about every community except Jerome and Crown King. (The list is below.) The county opened as many as 95 polling places for the 2010 elections. Elections officials say fewer are needed because about half of the people vote early by mail now.
While Arizona has an open primary system, the presidential preference election is an exception. People must be registered in the party to vote for a party candidate, so only Republicans and Green Party members can vote today.
Romney's strongest support in the Republican poll came from his fellow Mormons, at 77 percent. The poll projects 14 percent of the Republican voters in Arizona will be Mormon.
But Romney had an advantage with basically every key segment of the population, from Tea Partiers to Evangelicals, the poll found.
Santorum's performance in Wednesday's presidential debate in Arizona didn't help him, agreed the pollsters and Yavapai County Republican Party Chair Mal Barrett Jr. "Romney was the king of the sandbox," Barrett said.
Santorum didn't campaign in time for early voters, either. Since Arizona is a winner-take-all primary, Gingrich and Paul didn't bother to visit much outside of the TV debate.
Arizona gets only half of its allocated Republican delegates because Arizona violated the national party rules and conducted Arizona's presidential preference election before Super Tuesday on March 6.
Four years ago, Romney lost Arizona's presidential preference election to Arizona's own John McCain, pulling in 186,838 votes to McCain's 255,197, although Romney came in second.
Romney did worse in Yavapai County, with 7,709 votes (31 percent of the total Republican vote) against McCain's 12,224 (or 49 percent of the total).
Statewide turnout was 52 percent of the registered Republicans in 2008, compared to 50 percent in Yavapai County, where the voter turnout usually is one of the highest in the state.