By Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight
The Republican won in Arizona’s 8th District, but not by as much as she should have.
One might describe Arizona’s 8th Congressional District as … nondescript. Covering portions of Phoenix’s northern and western suburbs, including the Arizona Cardinals’ home stadium, the district isn’t all that geographically or demographically distinct, containing a largely older, largely white population of professionals and retirees.
The area has traditionally been extremely Republican, having voted for John McCain by 22 points in 2008, Mitt Romney by 25 points in 2012, and President Trump by 21 points in 2016. It has a growing number of Hispanics, but Hispanics make up a considerably smaller share of the voting population than of its population overall.
And although the Republican, Debbie Lesko, is the apparent winner, the election represents another really bad data point for the GOP. Lesko’s margin of victory was only 5 percentage points in a district that typically votes Republican by much, much more than that. The outcome represented a 20-point swing toward Democrats relative to the district’s FiveThirtyEight partisan lean, which is derived from how it voted for president in 2016 and 2012 relative to the country.