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…

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Cronkite-Eight Poll: McCain Leads Obama in AZ; Legislature To Blame for Budget Mess

A new Cronkite-Eight poll shows that Republican John McCain has an 10-point lead over Democrat Barack Obama among Arizona voters, although more than a third of those surveyed were undecided.

The numbers:

McCain: 38 percent

Obama: 28 percent

Undecided: 34 percent

Pollster Bruce Merrill also asked:

If Arizona state government shuts down because the governor and the state legislature cannot agree on the budget, who do you think is most responsible for the impasse – the governor or the state legislature?

More than half—52 percent—blame Arizona Legislature, while just 19 percent blame the governor, 13 percent blame both equally, and 16 percent just don’t know.

As the days tick toward the end of the fiscal year, it’s pretty clear that lawmakers are going to be on the losing end of the PR war if they can’t resolve this budget mess. A government shutdown is not the way to start your re-election campaign.