Marc Caputo for Politico:
When Arizona Republicans first pushed for a partisan audit of the 2020 presidential ballots cast in the Phoenix metropolitan area, they argued that they needed to know if any irregularities or fraud caused President Trump to lose this rapidly evolving swing state.
But the audit itself could be damaging Republican prospects, according to a new Bendixen & Amandi International poll, which shows roughly half of Arizona voters oppose the recount effort. In addition, a narrow majority favors President Biden in a 2024 rematch against Trump….
It’s a failure. It’s a joke,” said Sean Noble, a top GOP operative in the state, advising Republicans elsewhere to “avoid it. The election is long over, time to look forward.”
Noble said public opinion surrounding the audit is just too baked in to change, even though the firm that conducted the effort, Cyber Ninjas, hasn’t finished its work. On Friday, Cyber Ninjas announced its team had finished photographing and recounting the 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots.
The final report is widely expected to make claims about election fraud, reflecting the politics of Cyber Ninja’s founder — he appeared in a conspiracy theorist’s documentary film rife with falsehoods, according to Arizona press reports.
By 49-46 percent, Arizona voters are opposed to the audit, which puts the result within the poll’s margin of error. But the survey of 600 likely voters found that the intensity of opposition to the audit exceeded the intensity of support, with those strongly opposed to it outnumbering those strongly in favor by 5 percentage points. And while Democrats and Republicans broke along familiar partisan lines, independent voters upon whom the state pivots in close elections opposed the audit by 18 percentage points.