The latest polls in red states aren't showing a slide for Obama, they're showing one for McCain. And in fact trends are emerging where McCain is losing ground in red states that pundits seven months ago would have thought were untouchable, including McCain's home state of Arizona. Rumors are circulating today that the Obama campaign may make a play for winning McCain's home state of Arizona. Late breaking news yesterday evening reported that senior Obama advisers are discussing a possible visit by Obama to Arizona this weekend. Spokesperson Emily DeRose of the Arizona Democratic Party was quoted in saying, "We've certainly had discussions with the Obama campaign about steps to make Arizona more competitive." It has also been rumored this morning that the Obama campaign may be moving some of their advertising dollars and messaging into Arizona in these final days of the campaign for a bid to snatch Arizona away from McCain.
Maybe it's because of the recent rift between the two mavericks, where one has gone "rogue". Maybe it's because the head maverick is now touring the country with a plumber. Maybe people are just sick of hearing the word maverick. Maybe the divisiveness that McCain's message is echoing is leaving a bad taste into people's mouths. Whatever the reason, states that are typically red strongholds are beginning to swing dangerously close to blue.
The graph below shows the Arizona polling trends compiled from the polling data on the Real Clear Politics site, since March of this year. Over the 7 months, and especially in the most recent past, the polls have gone from a 20 point McCain lead to a four point spread. Suddenly the difference is about as big as the margin of error.
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Arizona. Ohio. Nevada. New Mexico. North Carolina. Montana. West Virginia. The color blue is appearing in unlikely places all across the map. So, why is the media so worried about Obama's voters not following through? The question shouldn't be: will young voters vote for Obama? It should be: is anyone going to vote for McCain?
Perhaps the media just doesn't want to jinx Obama. If they're looking at the same polls, their recent Election Day worries seem strangely ungrounded. Obama's 15 point gain in McCain's home state is hardly cause for alarm. At least, not for Obama. I suppose losing Arizona could be a point of embarrassment for McCain. But for a guy touring the country with an unlicensed plumber to prove he's a legitimate candidate – I'd guess that's something he's used to.