Michelle Obama in Arizona: Could it swing to Democrats?
Michelle Obama campaigned for her husband in Arizona and Colorado Monday. Mrs. Obama will be in Nevada and New Mexico Tuesday.
(Page 2 of 2)
"Arizona's a symbolic state now, for both sides," he said. "It's big stuff for a Democratic candidate to be able to say, 'I'm running neck and neck in a state like Arizona.' The flip side is that Romney has a strong interest in keeping the so-called faith base safe.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"We're going to get a lot of attention paid to Arizona," Haynes added.
Bruce Merrill, a poll director at the nonpartisan Morrison Institute in Phoenix, said that Arizona "certainly is in play."
"If the election were held today, I think Romney would probably win," he said. "But six months is a long time, and certainly the Democrats have some things going for them this year that they haven't had in the past."
The Behavior Research Center's poll showed that Hispanics in Arizona favor Obama over Romney 64 to 25 percent, with 11 percent unsure.
The last time a Democratic candidate won the presidential race in Arizona was Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996.
Shane Wikfors, communications director with the Arizona Republican Party, said the Obama campaign is well organized and has a network in place in Arizona and across the country, giving them an advantage.
But Wikfors said Romney's campaign is very disciplined and can come out on top.
"Our take on the Obama administration thinking that they can put Arizona in play is, let them continue to believe that," he said. "In fact, let them spend as much money here in Arizona as they want. Arizona is going to remain red."
He said Arizonans upset about the economy and the unemployment rate will vote for Romney.
Luis Heredia, chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, said Democrats have thought they could win presidential races in the past but that there is a different energy on the ground in the state this time around.
He said Arizonans frustrated with the Republican-led Legislature will turn to Obama, and that the first lady's visit Monday should be the first of many high-profile visits from Obama's team.
"It's going to motivate Democrats for what's going to be an exciting summer," he said. "We're hoping her visit will be the first of many different things that will motivate voters, not only Democrats, but independents and frustrated Republicans."
On Tuesday, Mrs. Obama heads to Nevada and New Mexico. Obama scheduled to attend a fundraiser and meet with supporters in Las Vegas on Tuesday morning, a day after she stopped in Colorado and Arizona.
Nevada is among several key battleground states that could determine whether President Barack Obama receives a second term in the White House. Her Las Vegas stop comes amid frequent visits to Nevada from various cabinet members, Vice President Joe Biden and the president.
Obama won Nevada in 2008, but the state voted Republican in 2000 and 2004.
In New Mexico, Mrs. Obama will be greeted by airmen from Kirtland Air Force Base and their families when she arrives in Albuquerque on Tuesday afternoon. She's then scheduled to speak at the private fundraiser.
(Reporting by Rema Rahman in Colorado)
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.