McCain Would Lose Senate Reelection in Arizona

Check out the latest Research 2000 polling commissioned by Daily Kos of 600 likely Arizona voters in the field October 28 through October 30.

If the election for President were held today would you vote for the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin or another candidate?

McCain-Palin: 48 percent (42 percent of those already voting)
Obama-Biden: 47 percent (54 percent of those already voting)

If the 2010 election for U.S. Senate were held today for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Janet Napolitano the Democrat and John McCain the Republican?

John McCain (R): 45 percent
Janet Napolitano (D): 53 percent

That's right -- John McCain is just about tied in his home state, and if his 2010 reelection bid were today and were he running against Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano he would lose.

Don't believe these numbers? The McCain campaign apparently does, because they have scheduled McCain to campaign in Arizona ahead of election day.

Sen. John McCain will be in Prescott on election eve, according to the Yavapai County Republican Party.

He plans to attend the party's annual Victory Rally at approximately 9 p.m. Monday on the historic courthouse plaza. The rally starts at 6 p.m. and typically attracts Republican elected officials from around the state.

With rumors that Barack Obama will touch down for a brief stop to stump in Arizona before election day and now hard news that the Obama campaign would be running this ad in Arizona (along with North Dakota and Georgia), we now have reason to believe that the race in the state may actually be edging towards "tossup" status (even as it likely still leans a bit towards the Republicans).

There's more...

McCain Pollster McInturff Overspins Himself

Bill McInturff, John McCain's pollster, doing a little spinning:

I went on Real Clear Politics tonight to find these two headlines back-to-back.

CBS/NYT:  Obama up comfortably
FOX:   Race tightens significantly

[...]

I believe we live in a world much closer to the Fox results.

Nice spin, right? The problem is, McInturff doesn't actually "believe we live in a world much closer to the Fox results," or at least he didn't until very recently. How do we know? As Josh rightly noted earlier today, the partisan balance of that Fox News poll McIntuff claims to believe in appears to be out of whack, with just a 2-point spread in affiliation between the two parties (41 percent Democratic and 39 percent Republican). Yet just last month, when McInturff was trying to spin the press to combat another poll, he said that he believed the current partisan balance was 6 to 8 points. If that number could be brought closer to a 4-point spread, McInturff explained, McCain would win. No talk, however, about a 2-point self-identification spread between the two parties.

Maybe I'm missing something? Or did McInturff overspin this one?

Update [2008-10-31 0:55:41 by Todd Beeton]:Funny, looks like this spin is in response to a memo from Stan Greenberg, which itself was in response to some serious McInturff spin from Tuesday.

First, here is how McInturff opens his wishful thinking memo from the other day:

First, let’s be clear: This is a hard election to “predict.”

The historic nature of the candidates on both tickets, the huge influx of unregulated money by the Obama campaign, the dour public mood, and the unique level of voter interest all suggest an historic level of turn-out, not witnessed in over 40 years.

Our models/understanding of what is coming is therefore necessarily projective, but, here is what we know for sure:

The McCain campaign has made impressive strides over the last week of tracking.

The campaign is functionally tied across the battleground states … with our numbers IMPROVING sharply over the last four tracks.

Greenberg responded with what can only be described as snarky sincerity:

All of us at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner were in awe of the boldness of these assertions, as they, we are sure, honestly reflect the data, show a nuanced use of language and topics, and weave a story that almost gets to the conclusions that this race is opening up, unpredictable, and closing, without formally saying those things. What is interesting is that some of the findings match ours, but with a fuller picture, take us to a different close.

Greenberg concludes:

In our regression modeling for the presidential battleground states, the two biggest drivers of the vote are who “brings the right kind of change” and who is “on your side.” Obama enjoys double-digit advantages over McCain on both - with about 53 percent of likely voters choosing him, creating an upward pressure on the vote. The structure of this race just has not changed as we have moved to the finish line.

As Greenberg notes, McCinturff is just doing his job but highlighting that Fox News poll certainly seems like grasping at straws and certainly brings me back to Josh's question of whether Fox spun the straw out of nothing in order for it to be grasped.

There's more...

Obama Campaign Moving into Arizona

We don't yet know the extent of the move, but it is coming. First, here's Marc Ambinder passing on the call to action from an email from the Obama campaign noting the tightening polls in Arizona:

Arizona is [John McCain's] home state. He should have a comfortable lead with voters who've known him for nearly three decades. That says all you need to know about the strength of Barack's message and the grassroots movement we've built.

With Election Day just 5 days away, this surge of support for Barack couldn't come at a better time. But we have to act immediately to take advantage.

Sign up right now to join our grassroots effort. Help turn out voters any time between now and Election Day, November 4th.

That's not all. Here's Newsweek's Richard Wolffe:

The campaign is now seriously examining a late surge into the state. That may include ramping up TV advertising, on-the-ground staff or even deploying the candidate to stop there. Obama is scheduled to make a Western swing late this week, making an Arizona visit possible.

This is now the fifth straight day bringing news of a tightening race in John McCain's home state of Arizona, and the announcement that the Obama campaign would indeed focus on Arizona -- albeit only for the last week of the election -- comes on the same day as two more nonpartisan polls reported a single-digit spread between McCain and Barack Obama in the state. Throwing into the mix Mason-Dixon polling showing McCain up 48 percent to 44 percent in the state and CNN/Time polling (.pdf) pegging McCain's lead at 53 percent to 46 percent, the Real Clear Politics average out of Arizona shows McCain under 50 percent and leading by just 5.2 percentage points -- not a great position for a politician who has spent a career representing the state.

Whether or not the Obama campaign does choose to go on-air during this last stretch of the election, we do know that at least one progressive group -- MoveOn -- has bought ad time in the state. Here's their spot:

I'd still like to see the Obama campaign go ahead and go up on the air in the state as well, even with a modest ad buy. But with the campaign asking for volunteers for the state, indicating that it is at least somewhat serious about putting the state on the map, and now MoveOn sending the message out on television, there is a shot -- a shot -- that we could see a surprise in the Grand Canyon state come Tuesday.

There's more...

A Quiet Department of Justice

Josh Marshall writes under the headline "Ain't Like the Old Days":

A few days back President Bush 'requested' that the Justice Department intervene in the vote challenge dispute in Ohio. This is after Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner won the dispute in the courts. Now comes word that the DOJ will likely to pass on the president's suggestion.

Chalk this up as a major win for the Obama legal team. Earlier this month campaign counsel Bob Bauer fired off two separate letters to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who, although at least as conservative as Alberto Gonzales, seems to have the sense of history not to want to be remembered as another in a line of stooges for George W. Bush who abused the criminal justice system to suit the needs of the Republican Party. Here's a portion of one of the letters from Bauer (who, for the purposes of disclosure, I worked for this summer):

In the light of an emerging pattern of apparent unlawful coordination between the McCain campaign and the Department of Justice and state law enforcement agencies controlled by Republican officials, the most recent and outrageous example of which is noted below, other steps beyond those urged in the October 17 letter are urgently needed. While an investigation by Special Prosecutor Dannehy is necessary, it is not sufficient. Her jurisdiction extends only to violations of federal criminal law. She has no power either to investigate and remedy past violations of Department policies, or to proect against misuse of the Department for partisan political "attack" purposes between now and Election Day.

Accordingly, I am writing now to ask (a) that the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility investigate what appear to be substantial violations of Department of Justice policy in connection with the so-called "election fraud" investigations and (b) that you personally take steps to ensure that all relevant Department of Justice policies are followed and that the Department is not misused for partisan purposes.

These actions, and nothing less, are required to restore public confidence that the Department of Justice will honor its traditions and avoid further embroilment in this unethical and illegal misuse of law enforcement authority to serve partisan political ends.

Citing hard law and appealing to this apparent historical understanding, the Obama camp was able to shine a light on the process. In doing so, they boxed Mukasey in such a way that it would have been extremely difficult for him to use the levers of power in the Justice Department to harangue potentially Democratic voters and otherwise make more arduous Obama's path to the White House. It was no coincidence, then, that we haven't heard of the DOJ playing the types of tricks for which it has become so famous during the Bush era -- raising the specter of voter fraud, playing politics with the U.S. Attorneys. So kudos to the Obama campaign and legal team for being on top of the ball and having a clear strategy to push back on any attempts to unfairly game the system.

There's more...

Tracking Poll Update: McCain Still Can't Top 45 Percent

ObamaMcCain
Diageo/Hotline4842
Gallup (Trad)5045
Gallup (Exp)5144
Rasmussen Reports5146
Research 2000/dKos5045
Composite:49.87544.375

The Washington Post/ABC News tracker (.pdf) from yesterday has Barack Obama up 52 percent to 44 percent over John McCain, and for the fifth straight day the Battleground tracker (.pdf) found Obama leading 49 percent to 43 percent. According to Ben Smith, a forthcoming New York Times/CBS News poll will show Obama up by an 11-point margin.

By the way, are undecideds the savior for the McCain campaign? Maybe not.

We are 5 days out from election day. What are you doing to help enact progressive change in this country?

Update [2008-10-30 13:37:47 by Todd Beeton]:More bad news for McCain: last night's Zogby tracker showed Barack back above 50% and with almost a 7 point lead (50.2-43.3) suggesting that McCain may have peaked.

With less than a week to go, today’s numbers are not a good development for McCain. There is no momentum for him, and the clock is starting to run short. Worse news for McCain today is that Obama hit 50% in the single day of polling, while he dropped back to the low 40s. Obama increased his lead among independents compared to yesterday, has moved into a lead among men, and still holds about one in five conservatives. But six days, including Election Day, is an eternity and McCain cannot be counted out yet, though he may need a wing and a prayer.
Hmm, no Drudge siren announcing that one? He is, however, touting the new Fox News poll, which shows McCain within 3, having closed the gap by 6 points in just a week.

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