Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain's Nightmare

National polls may show a small tightening for McCain which state polls do not reflect yet, but there's one state that's tightening in a direction that McCain probably did not anticipate:

Sen. John McCain's once-comfortable lead in Arizona has all but evaporated, according to a new poll that has the underdog Republican presidential candidate struggling in his own backyard.

With less than a week until Election Day, McCain is leading his Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, by 2 points, 46 to 44, down from a 7-point lead a month ago and a double-digit lead this summer, according to a poll from Arizona State University.

Factor in the 3-percentage point margin of error, and a race that was once a nearly sure thing for McCain is now a toss-up, pollsters say.

Most polls have shown McCain with a comfortable 10-15 point lead for most of the race, and most polls still show McCain with a lead in the range of 5-8 points, but all have tightened. I would still put odds against Obama taking Arizona, or even losing by a very slim margin, but the mere fact that McCain is trailing in his own state tells you a lot about how his campaign is doing even before you take into consideration the horrible numbers he's facing in other states.

UDPATE: Matthew DeLong reminds us that Obama has managed to build such momentum in the state despite the fact that neither candidate is spending much (if any) money on advertising in Arizona.

UPDATE II: Nate Silver dismisses the idea of a lag between state and national polls that I reference above.

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