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Can McCain deliver his home state?

Even in Arizona his rift with the far right is cutting into his 'favorite son' appeal.

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Home base: John McCain spoke at Swift Aviation in Phoenix the day after the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries.

Mario Tama/Getty Images/NEWSCOM

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For a senator who consistently gets 80 percent approval ratings from Arizonans, it seems strange, bizarre even, that John McCain would not be a shoo-in to win his home state in November's presidential election. Some in-state analysts say chances are fair, in fact, that Arizona will end up in the Democratic column.

A big part of the uncertainty may be that the Republican Party's presumptive nominee has not distanced himself enough from the Bush administration to satisfy the one-third of state voters who are independents. But Senator McCain has also seen his support erode among Arizona's avid Bush supporters and social conservatives, for not backing the president on issues dear to their hearts. Toss in the resources and clout of Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, who will be pulling hard for her party's nominee, and anything can happen.

"The simple conclusion for Arizona is that this could be a competitive state," says Earl de Berge, director of the Behavior Research Center, which conducts the Rocky Mountain Poll. "As presidential material, with him so closely aligned to the mainstream right-wing politics of the White House, he doesn't have the types of numbers we would expect to see."

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