Republicans In Trouble In Arizona?
Most political pundits have scoffed at suggestions from the Obama campaign that Arizona would be competitive this time around. The campaign’s calculations seem to be based on the growing Hispanic population in the state and Republican troubles among that particular demographic. Well, the election is still some six months away but there’s a new poll out of Arizona that suggests that the people in Obama HQ in Chicago may be on to something:
(CNN) – The battle between President Barack Obama and all-but-certain GOP nominee Mitt Romney for Arizona’s eleven electoral votes stands neck and neck, according to a poll released Monday.
Arizona, which has voted for only one Democratic presidential candidate in sixty years, has become a hot battleground in 2012, partly because of the state’s increasing Latino population.
The poll from Arizona State University’s Merrill/Morrison Institute indicated 42% of registered voters in Arizona backing Romney and 40% supporting Obama. The margin was well within the poll’s sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
A large portion of respondents – 18% – said they were undecided in who they would support in the November’s general election. Among independents, the undecided figure was far higher. Thirty-four percent of voters who said they were independents said they hadn’t yet picked a candidate to support.
“As the poll shows, the independents will decide this election in Arizona,” Dr. David Daugherty, director of research at Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said in a statement accompanying the poll’s release. “But, it’s important to remember the state’s history: Arizona has supported only one Democratic presidential candidate since Harry S Truman was elected in 1948. Winning Arizona will be an uphill battle for President Obama.”
The large number of independents who are undecided here makes it impossible to say the state is leaning one way or another, and until we see similar results from other polling companies it’s hard to make any judgments about the reliability of this particular poll. However, if it does turn out that Arizona ends up being a battleground state that the GOP will end up needing to expend resources that it might have used elsewhere in, then that is going to make Mitt Romney’s task over the next sign months all the more difficult.