McCain in Serious Jeopardy of Losing His Home State

I have been writing for over a year about John McCain's astonishingly weak level of home state support in Arizona, and how that weakness could make it more difficult for him to carry the state this fall. In the period following the Republican National Convention, there were at least some indications that McCain's problems in Arizona had subsided. But in the time since, two new polls have provided a real basis to wonder whether Barack Obama has a chance of turning the Grand Canyon state blue in a week and a half.

Project New West (D)

John McCain: 48 percent
Barack Obama: 44 percent

Zimmerman and Associates (D)

John McCain: 43.5 percent
Barack Obama: 41.5 percent

The Obama campaign isn't advertising in Arizona, and although there are efforts underway in the state, it certainly isn't a priority right now in the way that, the neighboring states of Nevada and New Mexico, and the kitty-corner state of Colorado are. What's more, although Obama would certainly be happy, if not elated, to earn Arizona's 10 electoral votes this fall, they are far from necessary for him to hit the magic 270 mark.

Nevertheless, perceptions can matter as much as anything else in politics, and if Obama were able to carry Arizona despite the fact that McCain has represented the state for a quarter-century, it would certainly bolster an argument that Obama had a strong mandate in a way that almost no other state could. This isn't to say that the Obama campaign should shift resources to Arizona at this point. Yet at the same time, it probably wouldn't be a bad thing to keep an eye on the race in the state over the remaining week and a half of the campaign.

Tags: Arizona, AZ-Pres, John McCain, White House 2008 (all tags)

Comments

25 Comments

Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

Also, it would connect the states of New Mexico and Colorado to the Pacific Coast states.

LEAVE NO ISOLATED BLUE STATE!!!1!

by Jess81 2008-10-26 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy
It seems as though the Kalifornization/West Coast normalization of Arizona is starting to get traction.
Right under Mr. McCain's nose has grown a progressive movement in his adopted state long scorned for its backward/conservative ways.
Perhaps a defeat would send him retreating to Alaska with his new Best Friend.....
by hddun2008 2008-10-26 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

   or he could move back to his country of birth, Panama. He was born in the Canal Zone when it was U.S. territory.

by Zack from the SFV 2008-10-26 09:47PM | 0 recs
If he has money to burn...

...why not advertise? why not make a surprise visit?

by iohs2008 2008-10-26 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy of Losing His Home

I think Barack can do this.  I have thought and hoped all along that he would.

by lojasmo 2008-10-26 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

Advertise?  Yoiu mean like that nice big 30 minute AD he will be airing this week that will reach a LOT of homes?  Why target Arizona specifically when you can reach ALL 50 in prime time?

That is the strategy that will reach Arizona and could tip them over.  Looks good at this point and is also a wise use of resources.

by Hammer1001 2008-10-26 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

People don't watch 30 minute political infomercials. It is a big waste of money. He could have run 60 national 30 second ads for this much air time.

Also, 30 minutes a week before election means 30 minutes in which to make a gaffe or misstatement that will end your campaign. This 30 minutes of air time is pure hubris.

by antiHyde 2008-10-26 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

What people don't watch anymore are those 30 second ads. It's reached a saturation point and they get tuned out.

You sound jealous of Obama's ability to innovate and connect, and afford it.

by phoenixdreamz 2008-10-26 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

No, not at all. I'm fully aboard Obama's train. I just remember others, like Bob Dole that tried this.

Also, when you're ahead, the most important thing is not to stumble.

by antiHyde 2008-10-26 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

You forget that it also means that is a 30-minute block in which McCain can't buy any ads.  More importantly, it's likely that it will dominate the news cycle the next day.  I would be surprised if it was live, so I wouldn't worry about a gaffe.  It's essentially a chance to have a recorded debate without anyone debating against you.  At worst, it's neutral.  At best, it reaches people in states that are not seeing those 30-second ads.

by ProgressiveDL 2008-10-26 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Hubris remark

I do think it's hubris to give a State of the Union speech, before you're elected. Scheduling this for the week after the election would be good. It would give the new Prez a chance to calm people with details of his plans. Maybe, he already has a cabinet lined up.

If it's not a SOTU speech, but a campaign speech, I think it gives McCain too much ammunition, like "HE wants to spread the wealth!"  BTW, I'd LIKE to see Obama spread the wealth. All too much of it is in the hands of the upper 0.1%

by antiHyde 2008-10-26 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Hubris remark

Depends on how he handles this...it could be corny/condescending/arrogant, but I honestly cannot see that coming after ALL the hard work and cool demeanor Obama has shown so far.  I REALLy would be surprised if he blows this.

I honestly think he comes out with his best/strongest/most appealing conversation with the country in this...why to vote for him.  This will be aimed at the middle electorate, the 20% or so right in the middle that are the true deciding voice in the elections.  I also think he is using this to address the whole country, hopefully at a "I am your neighbor" level, to make sure he has introduced himself PERSONALLY to the electorate.  I think this is meant to make people feel comfortable with him, and given the current environment, I think it will go over REALLY well.  Plus, this will reach ALL 50 states in a way that all those 30 second ads do not.

This is called using the current tech. in a new way to actually REACH voters.  Now we just have to see what he does and says.

But I believe he will do the right thing with this spot.

by Hammer1001 2008-10-26 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Hubris remark

Well, I'm taping it and sending a copy to a friend in Mississippi who is a big Obama booster. Wow, it's on four channels, CBS,NBC,BET and WFLD (local Chicago station)! Must have cost a fortune! I'm taping BET because I think they are least likely to give talking heads or have "technical difficulties".

I hope your right. This could be be a Roosevelt Fireside Chat or a Barry Goldwater Free Nations blooper.

by antiHyde 2008-10-27 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

Ross Perot based an entire campaign on 30 minute infomercials.  And he was leading, up until he went berzerk and accused aliens of turning his daughter into a lesbian or whatever it was.

Wow.  Imagine if people had elected that guy.

by Jess81 2008-10-26 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

omg, aliens, lol. I never knew that :)

by phoenixdreamz 2008-10-26 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

:-) Actually, it was the CIA was trying to disrupt his daughter's wedding. Which was bizarre enough!

by antiHyde 2008-10-26 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

Obama doesn't need more 30 second ads. Geez he's been running them night and day for months. A 30 minute ad accomplishes three things:

1) lets people know how he relates to the seriousness of the current economic crisis and reassures voters that his administration will address this issue.

2) allows time for voters to see him in an extended time period, without some loopy debate format that essentially does nothing to inform voters on either side.

3) makes him seem less scary. sad to say, there are still people who cant imagine that a black candidate is anything other than another jesse jackson revolutionary.

Voters probably spend a hell of a lot more time watching the home shopping networks selling junk they dont need.

by KoolJeffrey 2008-10-26 08:07PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy

A few of the local Dems and I think that Obama should buy all (the entire allocation) of radio ads on Rush Limbaugh for the next 10 days---run continuous ad spots on Rush's show--every available minute--WOW would that get Rush's goat--even his giant $200 million ego could take having to hear an Obama commercial every 5 minutes for the next 2 weeks.

by hddun2008 2008-10-26 06:28PM | 0 recs
it would be nice to believe but

neither of these pollsters has much of a track record and the undecideds are suspiciously high. They are also both for partisan organisations, so may have a Dem lean. My guess is that Obama probably keeps it under 10, but without resources committed I doubt he's going to put McCain in serious jeopardy, and there are too many other more obvious targets at this late stage to make it worth targetting now.

I guess this would come in the "tsunami" category along with ND, MT, GA, WV. But it would need a category 5 storm to take down those targets. My current list of pickups beyond Kerry 04 would be:

Category 1. NM, IA. Have looked likely all year and the mildest of breezes will knock them over. Verdict: Obama wins both. (264 EV)

Category 2. CO, VA. Both traditionally red but trending blue, and have looked likely since the summer. Verdict: Obama wins both. (286 EV)

Category 3. NV, FL, OH. Tougher than CO, VA, but Obama has a slight edge and his superior groundgame is probably enough to make the difference. Verdict: Obama wins all 3. (338 EV)

Category 4. NC, IN, MO. Genuine tossups - will probably all be within 2% margin either way. Verdict: Obama wins MO, NC, McCain wins IN. (363 EV).

Category 5. MT, ND, GA, AZ, WV, NE-02. These all should be very safe Republican holds but Obama has occasionally been close or even ahead in his best polling results, so could be vulnerable if Obama achieves a perfect storm. Verdict: Obama wins GA, McCain takes the rest. (378 EV)

Category 6. Anything else. At this point there's not a lot left, so McCain would probably need some kind of visible personal meltdown in the final week to risk losing any of the remaining states. The main fantasy hopes would probably be in the south - AR, MS, LA, TX. Verdict: not going to happen.

Looks like I come down to 378 EV. Unless McCain tightens things significantly in the closing week I'd say the likely range is somewhere within category 4 and 5, i.e. between 338 and 412.

I have real trouble seeing how Obama gets fewer than 286 EV unless something extremely dramatic happens in the final week.  

by al1 2008-10-26 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: it would be nice to believe but

Diebolt, perhaps?

by ProgressiveDL 2008-10-26 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain in Serious Jeopardy of Losing

Wouldn't McCain losing his home state be a hoot. I can't say I blame them. He's like a 'changed' man, but not in a good way, running a lowest common denominator swiftboat style campaign, choosing someone not even close to being qualified to fill his shoes in an emergency, and providing a demonstration of how uninformed and erratic his leadership skills would be as president - "the fundamentals of the economy are strong", followed by a campaign suspension stunt to 'address the problem' that failed.  

by phoenixdreamz 2008-10-26 03:52PM | 0 recs
McCain Choking in AZ

Here in downtown Phoenix, I have been phone banking for the Obama campaign to our "sister state" of New Mexico. The only TV ads I've seen are national ads, but they are very effective. I always wondered what it would be like seeing them on a regular basis.

When working in the office on weekends, it's pretty much an intermittent stream of people  stopping by to pick up Obama bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc. But the most astounding thing happened one Saturday afternoon 2 weeks ago:

THE OBAMA YARD SIGNS ARRIVED!!!

Now, I've seen people wait in line for various consumer goods, but I don't believe I've ever seen anything like this. The line to get into the actual building was snaking around the corner of the street. As I fought my way to the phones, I could see the look of excitement (terror?) in the eyes of the paid staffers. I never did find out how much they cost in all the mayhem.

I am surprised by the polls, but Obama is definitely winning the bumper sticker war out here. I have only lived in Arizona since 2000, but I don't think there is an overflowing love for McCain in the Phoenix area.

For one thing, he has been running for president virtually from day one. His proposals are designed for national attention only. His whole "earmarks" crusade has been great for his image but lousy for the state of Arizona.

McCain's big contributions to the state are an air force base and an artillery range that is in the middle of nowhere. Arizonans receive only 94 cents out of every dollar paid in federal taxes. I cannot imagine a crappier senator for their home state.

It would be beautiful for McCain to lose this state, because in 2010, if he makes it that long, he will get his clock cleaned by our popular Democratic governor, Janet Napolitano.

Obama/Biden 2008

by KoolJeffrey 2008-10-26 04:10PM | 0 recs
Arizona

I have been arguing for two weeks now that Obama should do a "drop in" on Arizona on the way to Colorado or one of the other western states.  

Force McCain to spend time there or money.

Dan Hamilton
www.latenightpundit.com

by dham340 2008-10-26 04:21PM | 0 recs
GOTV video

Nothing left to do but the voting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOOUtOf1- -M

dk

by McCainBush08 2008-10-26 04:57PM | 0 recs
No Suprise

Arizona has never been in love with McCain from the beginning, I think due to immigration. This is actually one state Hillary might have done better in by winning over older people who might be suspicious of Barack. Regardless, the AZ GOP will lose the State House and at least one seat in Congress. Polls have actually shown that Janet Napolitano is competitive with McCain should she choose to run for the senate in 2010.

by RandyMI 2008-10-26 06:00PM | 0 recs

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