by Michael Bryan
The latest polling from Public Policy Polling (PDF link) indicates that Romney is leading in Arizona by 7 points (50%-43%), which is within the margin of error (+/-4.4%), but likely represents a small true advantage.
I don't find that terribly surprising, given the GOP registration advantage and the strong Mormon population and activation in Arizona. Arizona will be closer than 2008, and Obama may actually win Arizona this year, but it will be a damn close thing.
What I did find VERY surprising, were the polling results when a potential Vice Presidential candidate was added to the mix. The scamps at PPP added some of the top political figures from Arizona as potential running mates for Romney: Governor Brewer, Senator John McCain, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Adding Janet to the ticket actually HARMS Romney! He loses 2% when she's the VP - in Arizona! No favorite daughter effect for our Governor!
Senator McCain doesn't fair any better. Given the cratering of his popularity in his own party, that he doesn't make it MUCH worse for Romney is actually what is surprising. I guess you can just chalk it up to the fact that many GOP voters are already holding their noses to vote for Romney, so they can't really smell the VP.
Then there is America's "Toughest Sheriff" Arpaio. At a poorly preserved 70-something, Joe is even less likely a VP than the mouldering McCain, but PPP tried him out, none-the-less. The results were almost to hand the race to Obama.
Now, all of these results are also within the margin of error, so they are all statistically the same, but what is clear, is that adding any of these top GOP local leaders to the Romney ticket does not improve Romney's performance - just the opposite, in fact.
Arizona really LOVES it favorite sons and daughters... NOT!