McCain Struggling in Arizona

Mason-Dixon released polling this weekend on the state of the race in the Mountain West. In short, it looks like both Barack Obama and John McCain still have their work cut out for them, though McCain does appear to have an edge in the region, leading in three of the four competitive states in the region, all of which  George W. Bush carried in 2004.

But perhaps the bigger story out of the polling is this: Despite the fact that McCain enjoys a moderately decent 50 percent favorable rating in his home state of Arizona -- 13 points higher than that of Obama -- McCain leads Obama in the state by just a 47 percent to 41 percent margin. These are not the kind of numbers that instill much confidence -- particularly given that the people of Arizona know McCain already, and thus he's not particularly likely to pick up a whole lot of undecided voters.

This is far from the first survey to show McCain having difficulty in Arizona. Consecutive polls from Arizona State University have shown McCain's lead peaking at 10 percentage points, and a Rasmussen Reports survey from back in June showed him up just 49 percent to 40 percent over Obama in the state (though a more recent Rasmussen poll gave him a 19-point lead).

It's not clear that Obama is seriously contesting Arizona at this juncture, though he certainly has an active campaign in the state. That said, this is one of those "if the shoe were on the other foot" instances that makes you wonder about the extent to which the media would be hyperventilating were it Obama continually polling under 50 percent in his home state, the reliably Democratic Illinois. While the media in Arizona is paying attention -- check out this great report from local television last month on the surprising closeness of the race in the state -- the establishment press is just paying little to no heed. Well, if McCain follows in the footsteps of his good friends inside the Beltway and doesn't pay attention to Arizona, he just might find himself needing to campaign in the state come October, an outcome he can ill afford.

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

Comments

13 Comments

I am not sure about these polls

These polls are the first which show that McCain is ahead in New Mexico and the McCain is more ahead in Nevada.

Who knows about polls.

Polls will be more accurate after the first debate.

by puma 2008-08-24 03:16PM | 0 recs
mason dixon - not so sure

they famously did the South Carolina poll for MSNBC, this january, and they said Barack would win by 8 pts.  He won by 28 pts.  A little outside of the margin of error, i'd say.

by Al Rodgers 2008-08-24 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: mason dixon - not so sure

I was rating the various pollsters for awhile during primary season.  One of the surprises was just how badly M-D sucked.  (I don't have my notes handy, but it wasn't just SC.)  

I'd be suspicious of this one anyway, since this is the first poll of NM in eons that's shown Obama behind in that state.  But that, combined with the unusual closeness of AZ, plus my lingering doubts about them from primary season, add up to: wait for confirmation.

One thing to remember is that even Barry Goldwater managed to win AZ as his home state, when he was losing the entire rest of the country outside of the Deep South.  It's hard to see McCain doing worse in AZ in 2008 than Barry did in 1964.

by RT 2008-08-24 05:33PM | 0 recs
Incredible - McSame under 50% in AZ

he's been representing AZ since 1982, and not only that, Bush carried AZ by 11 points in 2004, and yet McHomes is only at 47%!!!

Can you imagine if a poll, any poll, said Obama was at 47% in Illinois - they'd break into every news channel with breathless around-da-clock reports.

L'bruel media, my aszz.

by Al Rodgers 2008-08-24 03:19PM | 0 recs
538.Com - McCain plus 12.9 pts

The Q poll is obviously out of whack from all others, the more alarming poll results were from New Mexico and Nevada where McCain is up 4 and 7 pt respectively.  As of today McCain wins the electoral college by picking up Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, and New Mexico.  McCain remains amazingly strong in the strongest Democratic year since 1964!  Why is this happening?

by oliver99 2008-08-24 03:29PM | 0 recs
that how history works

think about 1968.  

you had 15,000 americans dying in viet nam.  two assassinations. economic problems.  the russians invading Czechoslovakia. and riots at the democratic convention.  

yet in a completely anti-incumbent environment, Nixon barely won by 510,000 votes.  to put it perspective, Al Gore won the 2000 election by 560,000 votes.

think about 1960.

Jack Kennedy stands as the most dynamic and charismatic campaigner in history.  A genuine war hero.  He completely kicked Nixon's ass at the debate.  There was even a recession and people wanted change.  Yet JFK barely beat one of the most boring candidates ever.

think of 1992.

we were in a horrible recession.  god awful.  The rodney king riots.  people wanted change.  Yet the charismatic man from hope was behind until the convention, when fortunately, Perot dropped out of the race.

think of 1980.

the russians invaded Afghanistan. we had hostages in iran.  A horrible, bloody end to an attempted rescue at desert one.  Nighline line hammered Carter every nite with 'america held hostage."  there was gas shortages, triggering gas lines.  inflation was at 14% and the prime lending rate was 21%  the country wanted change.

yet reagan, who had a boat load of money, found himself trailing an uninspiring incumbent in october, and only pulled ahead after the "are you better off now then 4-years ago" debate.

winning is hard, even when everything goes right, and when the wind is at your back.

by Al Rodgers 2008-08-24 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: that how history works
Good historical perspective, something we could use a little more of online.
as for the hand-wringers, I share their frustration.
by spirowasright 2008-08-24 03:53PM | 0 recs
Dawn Teo lives in AZ

and has been tracking this for a long time.  His own powerpoint shows AZ as a swing state...

It is interesting that the MSM gives it no play whatsoever.

by chrisblask 2008-08-24 03:33PM | 0 recs
I am sure you are the same person

that predicted that Obma would turn GA and NC blue.

by indydem99 2008-08-24 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: I am sure you are the same person

Not so much. Talking about a potential for competitiveness is very different from making a prediction about turning a state blue.

by Jonathan Singer 2008-08-24 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Struggling in Arizona

I've been waiting for polls like this; I lived in Arizona for 15 years and my parents still live there - the Arizona of today is not the Arizona of 1980.  There is definitely a local backlash against the conservatives who have been running the place.

It's perfectly conceivable to me that there are no small number of people who would vote for McCain for Senate because of the fact that he's represented Arizona ably, but on the same day would vote against McCain because they don't agree with the GOP's national policies.  Arizona is no longer the conservative bastion that Barry Goldwater found himself at home at.

Having said that, while maybe Obama can make him play defense on his home court, I think Obama will have to get a true landslide to win the state.  The ties are too deep and the state isn't exactly Vermont yet.  If it were another candidate, AZ would be a true swing state, but McCain has home-field advantage and that still means something.

by auronrenouille 2008-08-24 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Struggling in Arizona

I've seen two yard signs and zero bumper stickers for McCain in the AZ 2nd district (John "GOPAC" Shadegg's) where I live.

This state went for Clinton in 96 and is ripe for the stealing.

by Glaurung 2008-08-24 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Struggling in Arizona

Yea, these Mason Dixon polls were kinda like "what the hell?" Very random....though the AZ poll does seem a bit on the correct track...a bit. Just because other polls have come out showing it close, but again I think most of the MD polls are like uhh, what?

by werd2406 2008-08-24 09:05PM | 0 recs

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