Battleground Arizona

John McCain is returning home to Arizona earlier than planned due to his home state becoming the latest addition to the list of battleground states.  A few days ago I noted that some polls showed the state as close as two points. Tonight CNN moved Arizona from strongly for McCain to weakly for McCain. While I have always felt safer taking polls from Research 2000 with a grain of salt as they are commissioned by Daily Kos, they currently show McCain leading by only one point.

In seeing how close the race had become in Arizona I suggested that Obama should advertise there in order to force McCain to devote resources to the state. Since then McCain started using robo calls while Obama purchased ad time in the state. Now McCain is planning to attend a rally in Arizona on the eve of the election. My bet is that he still wins in Arizona, but this is forcing him to spend time which he would  prefer to spend in a state such as Pennsylvania or Ohio.

Even if he loses the election, I bet McCain would not want the humiliation of losing his home state. Losing Tennessee has proven to be an embarrassment to Al Gore, in addition to costing him the 2000 election. For McCain to lose Arizona would be even worse than for Gore to lose Tennessee. When Gore ran for president he had been serving as vice president as opposed to representing Tennessee for eight years, and everyone realized that the state had moved far to the right of where Al Gore was. It would be a much more shocking repudiation if Arizona were to reject McCain after repeatedly voting for him as Senator.

It might get even worse. The Research 2000 poll shows that if the 2010 Senate race was between Janet Napolitano and John McCain, Napolitano would win 53 percent to 45 percent. Of course polls this far out mean very little. McCain would have two years to repair some of the damage caused by the way he has conducted his campaign this year, and he won’t have Sarah Palin dragging him down. It is also possible that anti-Republican sentiment could lessen in two years, and the Republicans might even have an edge as the party out of power frequently does in off year elections.

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