Polls show race tightening in McCain’s home state of Arizona
PHOENIX – Polls in recent days suggest that John McCain’s lead over Democratic rival Barack Obama may be slipping in the Republican’s home state of Arizona, with one released late on Tuesday indicating that the race is now too close to call.
With less than a week to go until the Nov. 4 election, the poll by Arizona State University showed McCain leading Obama 46 points to 44, a slender advantage that was within the three-point margin of error.
“John McCain’s support in Arizona has slipped to the point where, at least in our poll, it’s a statistical dead heat,” said Tara Blanc, the assistant director of the survey carried out by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Channel 8 /KAET.
“At this point it’s anybody’s race. It will frankly come down to who goes to the polls on election day,” Blanc told Reuters by telephone.
Presidential candidates can usually count on winning in their home states. A notable exception was Democrat Al Gore, who lost Tennessee when he was running against then Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000.
Several polls indicate that McCain’s lead over Obama has tightened in Arizona in the past month, which has been marked by fallout from the global economic crisis.
A similar poll by ASU in late September gave McCain a 7 point lead. A Rasmussen poll out this week showed McCain’s lead in the desert state had slipped to 5 points, down from 21 points late last month.
The Democratic party in Arizona – a state that McCain has represented in the U.S. Senate since 1986 – not surprisingly seized on the results of the latest survey.
“According to the Cronkite poll …. John McCain is in danger of losing Arizona,” Don Bivens, the chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party told a conference call with reporters, adding that it showed that “Senator Obama is closing the gap.”
The McCain campaign, meanwhile, were dismissive. Politico.com reported McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky saying: “John McCain has never lost an election in Arizona, and this one will be no different, regardless of Obama’s attempt to buy the election with millions of dollars in advertising.”
– Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain in the battleground state of Florida)