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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 fivethirtyeight.com/New 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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