McCain on the defensive in Arizona

Obama pulls within a point of McCain in new Arizona poll, and goes on the air in the Republican's home state.

By Gabriel Winant
Published October 31, 2008 5:10PM (EDT)

John McCain has been having a lot of trouble in states that used to be solidly red. First Virginia, then North Carolina, now Georgia, the Dakotas and Montana. But his weakness in his home state of Arizona might be the most dramatic.

There have been murmurs for about a week about McCain suffering some slippage in the Grand Canyon State. But today brings multiple pieces of bad news for the Republican nominee. A new poll from Research 2000 has him up only 48-47 over Barack Obama. Adding insult to injury, it also shows Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano outpolling McCain in a hypothetical 2010 Senate race, 53-45. And, as Tom noted earlier, Obama’s campaign is including Arizona in its final ad buy before the election.

The Obama campaign may be out more to embarrass  McCain than to actually win the state. Despite recent developments, and a thriving local Democratic Party, McCain still has to be considered the favorite. But when George W. Bush moved to steal Tennessee out from under Al Gore, it drew plenty of attention and made Gore look weak and out of touch. (Plus, it worked.) The more talk there is about Obama stepping on McCain’s turf, the tougher it will be for McCain to convince doubters that he’s preparing to make a comeback.

Gabriel Winant

Gabriel Winant is a graduate student in American history at Yale.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.