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Glassman picks up points versus McCain, still trails

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Glassman picks up points versus McCain, still trails

Times analyst gives McCain win 98.5% chance

Rodney Glassman picked up a few points with voters in his challenge to Sen. John McCain, a new poll says.

But a New York Times analyst says the race is a lock for McCain.

The former Tucson City Councilman still trails the incumbent Republican, with 37 percent of likely voters favoring him. 51 percent chose McCain in a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday.

Seven percent prefer another candidate, while 6 percent are undecided.

A Rasmussen poll from just after the primary last month gave McCain a 53-31 percent lead. Previous polls showed McCain with 53 to 57 percent, with Glassman at 28 to 34 percent.

Despite Glassman's uptick, the conservative pollster is still down on his chances:

Glassman, a relative political newcomer, faces an uphill battle, given McCain's powers of incumbency and the political mood in a state that already trends strongly Republican.

McCain, a member of the U.S. Senate since 1987, is favored by 80% of Republicans. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Democrats support Glassman, the former vice mayor of Tucson. Among voters not affiliated with either political party, McCain edges Glassman 41% to 37%.

Glassman is still an unknown to many Arizona voters:

Forty-five percent (45%) of Arizona voters have a favorable opinion of McCain, while 55% view him unfavorably. This includes 14% with a Very Favorable view and 22% with a Very Unfavorable one. Just one percent (1%) have no opinion of the longtime senator.

For Glassman, favorables are 33%, including 12% Very Favorable. Unfavorables total 41%, with 18% Very Unfavorable. But one-in-four voters (26%) don't know enough about the Democratic candidate to voice any kind of opinion of him.

Likewise, polling genius Nate Silver of York Times, who essentially does polls of polls to perform his analysis, projects a McCain win.

Simulations show that the Republican has a 98.5 percent chance of retaining his seat, Silver said. The forecast, based on data as of Sept. 7: 56/40 McCain/Glassman.

Those predictions don't include Glassman's more favorable performance in the new Rasmussen poll.

The now-obligatory Rasmussen disclaimer: The pollster has drawn criticism for a supposed bias toward GOP candidates, particularly by Silver.

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