McCain Struggling in Arizona
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Aug 24, 2008 at 03:08:13 PM EDT
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.