Democrats in Arizona don't have the easiest job convincing people they've got a chance to help Barack Obama carry the state. Sure, John McCain may not be that popular there, but it's still his home state.
But then came the news Sunday morning of a poll sponsored by Project New West, a group that wants Democrats to focus on the intermountain West, that showed McCain only up 48 percent to 44 percent over Obama in Arizona. The pollsters say it's a big shift since September, when they had McCain up 54 to 40. Obama's up among independents by 10 points in Arizona in the poll. Private polls for Democratic candidates in the state had shown him up between five and ten points over the summer; now this poll seems to confirm that he's having some trouble on the home front.
"Since John McCain has been more like the senator from New Hampshire than the senator from Arizona - all the while voting 90 percent of the time with President Bush - I'm hardly surprised that Arizonans are so supportive of Sen. Obama's vision for change," Arizona's Democratic Party chairman, Don Bivens, said in a state party release. Politico picked up on the buzz the poll is getting among Democrats, as well.
It's not all bad news for McCain in Arizona, though; the Arizona Republic endorsed McCain Sunday morning. "Nowhere else in the country do voters know John McCain like Arizonans know John McCain," the paper said.
McCain is still the much safer bet to win Arizona. But he can't be happy if he has to worry about it.