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Posted May 23, 2012, 12:48 pm
A poll released Wednesday shows Mitt Romney with a lead over President Barack Obama in Arizona.
The GOP candidate had a 7 point lead over Obama in a head-to-head matchup in a survey by Public Policy Polling.
Romney led the president 50-43 in the poll, which was performed Thursday through Sunday. The survey had a 4.4 percent margin of error, the polling firm said.
"That’s a big improvement for Romney from the last statewide general election poll in late February, when Romney was tied with Obama at 47," a news release from PPP said.
Just 9 percent said they were undecided, a marked change from a late April poll that showed a 42-40 split in Romney's favor, with 18 percent undecided.
Romney's seen gains since he emerged as the putative Republican nominee:
Romney’s favorability rating has improved 11 points from February to 46 percent, and he now leads with Independents against Obama 48-38. Obama led with Independents 53-39 in February.
Romney’s turnaround is also due in part to Obama’s worsening image among Arizona voters. Obama has a 41 percent approval rating in the state, down 5 points from February. The turnaround isn’t too surprising, considering Romney held a similar 7-point lead over Obama in a November statewide general election poll. Obama’s approval rating was also 41 percent in November, signaling that Obama’s numbers in February could have been inflated due to Arizona’s hostile Republican primary that took place less than a week after the poll was conducted.
While some state Democrats have touted Arizona as part of a western path toward a second term for Obama, the president's "chances of winning Arizona don’t look as good as they did 3 months ago," said Dean Debnam of PPP.
Many have pegged Obama's chances of winning Arizona to the fortunes of former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, a Tucsonan who's seeking a U.S. Senate seat as a Democrat. While Carmona trails his GOP rivals, there's potential for the race to swing in his direction: he leads among voters who have an opinion about him (see sidebar).
The presidential survey questioned 500 Arizona voters. Forty-six percent identified themselves as Republicans, 31 percent as Democrats and 23 percent as independents.
Just 18 percent of those polled said they were Hispanic; 71 percent were white.
While Romney may be favored by Arizonas, two of the state's politicians aren't as well-liked:
Gov. Brewer has a 47 percent approval rating among Arizonans; adding her to the Romney ticket would reduce Romney’s lead by 4 points to 48-44. Only 36 percent of Arizonans approve of five-term Senator John McCain’s job performance. Adding him to the Romney ticket would decrease Romney’s lead by 5 points to 48-43.