This is almost sad, guys.
Well, not really.
But I think this shows us the depth of the hole McCain has dug running this disgraceful campaign. He has never lost an election in Arizona, but now he’s poised to lose the most important race of all. According to a new a Cronkite/Eight Poll, AZ is now a toss-up. Obama has whittled McCain’s lead down to two points, 46 to 44, a statistical tie.
The poll has a +/-3 margin of error. It surveyed 1,019 registered voters in AZ on October 23rd, 25th and 26th.
TEMPE, Ariz. –Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. According to poll director Dr. Bruce Merrill, “The race in Arizona is very close. Supporters of both candidates are highly committed to their candidates, with 94 percent of Obama’s supporters and 93 percent of McCain’s supporters indicating that they are firmly committed and won’t change their mind before Election Day. In addition, the undecided vote is very low, which means that there are few people remaining to be persuaded during the last week of the campaign. Obama has been closing the gap by attracting independents and women to his campaign. McCain does well among conservative Democrats and evangelicals. Still, a week is a long time in a political campaign and anything can happen. Who wins will be determined by which candidate gets their supporters out to the polls on Election Day.”
The statewide poll also found that a majority (62 percent) of all registered voters believes that Obama will win the presidency next Tuesday, while 20 percent think McCain will win. Thirty-eight percent of the Republicans in the state and 34 percent of those supporting McCain believe the Illinois senator will win. The poll also found that, by a two-to-one margin (46 percent to 22 percent), voters believe that McCain is running a more negative campaign than Obama.
The race in Arizona has been slowly tightening for months, and Obama has come startlingly close to an upset.
“One would think McCain would still carry Arizona, but anybody who says they can predict the state this time, they can’t. It’s going to depend on who goes to the polls,” said Tara Blanc, associate director of the poll, which was done by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and local PBS affiliate Channel 8 (KAET).
So will McCain win his home state? Well, probably. But the important thing is, we’ve made him nervous enough to spend some of his already limited funds in his own territory. When was the last time a Republican had to do that?
UPDATE: Looks like Obama may make a play for the state! Or at the very least, make McCain spend more defending it:
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.
(Many thanks to Spiff for finding that Newsweek post!)