Sen. John McCain’s once-comfortable lead in Arizona has all but evaporated, according to a new poll that has the underdog Republican presidential candidate struggling in his own backyard.
With less than a week until Election Day, McCain is leading his Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, by 2 points, 46 to 44, down from a 7-point lead a month ago and a double-digit lead this summer, according to a poll from Arizona State University.
Factor in the 3-percentage point margin of error, and a race that was once a nearly sure thing for McCain is now a toss-up, pollsters say.
As Al Gore found out eight years ago, only three presidents have ever been elected without carrying their home states. Whether Obama will buy advertising time in the state or add it to his campaign itinerary is unclear at this point, but he might send his wife or some A-list surrogates to headline an event or two there during the final days. It’s not the big gamble like four years ago when Dick Cheney went to Hawaii during the last week of the campaign. But if McCain has to spend money and time playing defense in Arizona this late in the game, he’s toast.