More Polls: AZ Prez Race Tight!

We saw the Obama campaign’s “Rear View,” a negative ad targeting John McCain, on KVOA, Channel 4, this evening, so it appears Barack Obama is not just running the positive ad “Something” in Arizona.

Meanwhile, a Mason-Dixon poll released today shows Obama trailing McCain by just four points.

You have to consider the source, but Daily Kos commissioned a poll that shows Obama within one point of McCain and ahead among early voters. That sounds a little optimistic to us, but we still think the close race helps Democrats in down-ballot races.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com calls Obama’s big ad buy “irrational exuberance”:

I have to say that I’m not a big fan of this from standpoint of marginal electoral strategy. A slew of recent polls in Arizona show the state close, by margins ranging from 1 to 8 points. However, this is the time of year when “close” means something very different from “functionally tied”. A 3-to-5 point lead in a state, which is where the Arizona polls average out, is fairly significant at this stage of the contest. That lead still belongs to John McCain.

And needless to say, it is hard to elucidate a scenario in which Arizona serves as some sort of tipping point state. Obama will not perform better in Arizona than in Continue reading

“Something” Happening Here: Obama Team Calls Arizona “Functionally Tied”

Here’s an ad you’ll be seeing a lot of in the next few days. The Obama campaign announced this morning that they believed they had “a real shot in Arizona” and would be making a major buy to run “Something,” a positive spot that’s getting play in other battleground states.

One Obama staffer, playfully borrowing language from the McCain campaign, called the Arizona race “functionally tied.”

They’re splashing some cold water on the idea that Arizona is in play over at Nate Silver’s excellent Fivethirtyeight.com.

Obama himself will not be making a visit here, according to Jon Carson, the campaign’s national field director.

As long as it’s Halloween, we thought we’d bring you this ad, just because it has robots in it.

Cronkite-Eight Poll: Arizona Prez Race “A Toss-Up”

A fourth poll in Arizona shows a tight race between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama.

The Cronkite-Eight Poll shows that 46 percent of voters surveyed said they were supporting McCain, while 44 percent said they were backing Obama.

Three other recent polls have shown McCain losing support among Arizona voters.

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.”

Merrill notes that 62 percent of Arizonans believe that Obama will win on Election Day, while just 20 percent believe McCain will make a comeback.

The poll also shows that 51 percent of the voters surveyed opposed Prop 105, aka Majority Rules, while just 27 percent support it. If passed by voters, the proposition would require that future initiatives that raise taxes would require a majority of all registered voters, not just the ones who bother to vote in the election.

Three Polls: Obama Closes Gap With McCain in AZ

Three polls in the last few days show that Democrat Barack Obama is closing in on Republican John McCain right here in Arizona.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released today shows a five-percentage-point gap between the candidates, with 51 percent of voters supporting McCain and 46 percent Obama.

That’s a staggering drop from a Rasmussen poll released late last month, which showed McCain with a 21-percentage-point lead. In that survey, 59 percent of voters were supporting McCain and just 38 percent were supporting Obama.

The Rasmussen survey comes after the release of a poll commissioned by Project New West, which shows that 48 percent of voters are supporting McCain and 44 percent are supporting Obama.

The survey of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minor 4 percent.

Finally, local pollster Carol Zimmerman has released a poll that shows that 43.5 percent of voters back McCain, while 41.5 percent support Obama.

The Zimmerman poll showed that Obama clobbering McCain by roughly 19 points in Pima County, 53.5 percent to 34.9 percent.

Napolitano on Joe the Plumber

We asked Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano about the story of Joe the Plumber today while she was on a campaign stop to motivate Southern Arizona Democrats.

Napolitano said the plumber’s story about planning to buy a business wasn’t holding much water and he appeared to be the kind of citizen who would benefit more under an Obama administration.

“McCain’s been a senator for 26 years and I haven’t seen him help a ‘Joe the Plumber’ yet,” she said.

Speaking of benefiting from an Obama administration, we asked Napolitano if she would be sticking around the state or moving to Washington, D.C., if Obama were to win the presidency.

“I’m not looking for another job,” Napolitano said.

But that’s no guarantee she wouldn’t take one if an offer were to come along…

New AZ Polls: McCain Pulls Ahead While Lead Narrows

Two new polls released today give us completely opposite pictures of the presidential race between John McCain and Barack Obama in Arizona.

A Cronkite-Eight Poll says that Obama is closing in on our senior senator. There’s only a 7 percentage point gap between the candidates, according to pollster Bruce Merrill.

From the Cronkite-Eight press release:

Republican John McCain maintains a 7-percent lead (45 percent to 38 percent) over Democrat Barack Obama in Arisona, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll conducted Sept. 25-28. The statewide poll of 976 registered voters also found that Independent candidate Ralph Nader received 1 percent and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney each received less than 1 percent of the vote. Sixteen percent were undecided. Last month, the poll found that McCain led by 10 percent with 40 percent of the vote, while Obama drew 30 percent, Nader drew 2 percent, Barr had 1 percent and 27 percent undecided.

But Rasmussen Reports released a poll today that shows McCain has opened up a 21-percentage-point lead over Obama here in Arizona:

John McCain, in his home state of Arizona, now has a 21-point lead over Barack Obama, the biggest gap yet in the race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds McCain leading 59% to 38%. In late July, the Arizona Republican had a 16-point lead and only led by nine a month earlier.

McCain has a dominating 59% to 40% lead among unaffiliated voters in Arizona. He also leads 63% to 36% among men and 55% to 41% among women.

They can’t both be right…

Meth McCain

One more from Stephen Colbert’s Make McCain Exciting Green Screen Challenge.

You Damn Dirty McCain!

More monkey business from Stephen Colbert’s Make McCain Exciting Green Screen Challenge.

2008: A Race Odyssey

Stephen Colbert–our hero–announced this week that he was wrapping up the Make McCain Exciting Green Screen Challenge, which seems to have creating all sort of new interest in our earlier posts. So here are a few final entries for you to enjoy.

Test Study: Why Are Politicians Afraid To Tell You Where They Stand?

Every election year, political candidates are asked one simple question: “Are you willing to tell the citizens your positions on the issues?”

Most answer “No.”

The Political Courage Test, a survey administered by Project Vote Smart, asks candidates—from presidential hopefuls to your neighborhood representative—to tell the voters where they stand on a range of serious policy options facing the nation.

But candidates fear that the information will become one-stop shopping for opposition research–because it’s happened in the past.

As Nintzel explained a few months ago in a Tucson Weekly article on Project Vote Smart:

…the percentage of politicians willing to complete the survey has been falling in almost every election cycle. In 1996, 72 percent of congressional candidates completed the survey; in 2006, only 48 percent did. Almost three out of four incumbents ignored the request in 2006.

Why the reluctance to take the Political Courage Test? Because the Project Vote Smart survey has become one-stop shopping for campaigns to do opposition research. As a result, political strategists discourage candidates from completing the survey, warning that it could come back to haunt them.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who refused to fill out the survey for her 2006 campaign, says she’s concerned that her responses would be used against her.

“I applaud what they do, because they do provide a pretty good scorecard,” Giffords says. “But most often, those scorecards get used against you. … I want to make sure I’m not giving my opponent ammunition to be used against me.”

Giffords has only filled out Continue reading

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