Arizonans are evenly divided on Barack Obama's job so far as President and if he had to stand for reelection today it looks like the state would probably remain in the red column.
47% of voters there give Obama good marks for his work so far and an equal 47% express disapproval. His reviews are predictably polarized along party lines with 80% of Democrats but only 17% of Republicans approving of him. Independents split positively 50/42 in his direction.
53% of whites disapprove of Obama but his 58% approval from Hispanics evens that out.
Support for Obama's health care plan lags behind his overall approval rating in the state, as it has everywhere PPP has polled in the last two months. 53% of voters are opposed to it with only 40% in favor.
There's been a lot of speculation given Obama's strong performances in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico last year about whether Arizona would head to the Democratic column as well in 2012 without the President having to face native son John McCain. The answer at this very early stage is no. Obama trails Mitt Romney 50-43 in a hypothetical contest, is at a 49-45 disadvantage against Mike Huckabee, and is knotted up with Sarah Palin at 47.
In each of those contests Obama wins about 9-10% of the 2008 John McCain vote while holding on to 90-96% of his vote. His formula for victory in the state next time would be to push his McCain share to around 15% and continue the success he showed in 2008 for turning out new voters on his behalf.
Why isn't Arizona trending quite as blue as its neighbors? The first answer is that the Hispanic vote in the state is not as Democratic as it is in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and California. Exit polls showed Obama winning 56% of their votes in Arizona last year and his approval with them now is 58%. He wins 55-57% of their vote in the hypothetical contests against Romney, Huckabee, and Palin. By comparison Obama averaged winning 70% of the Hispanic vote in the surrounding states that he took last fall.
The other reason is quite simply that Arizona is more Republican than those states. There are 16% more Democrats than Republicans in New Mexico, 12% more in California, 8% more in Nevada, and Colorado is split evenly. Arizona had 7% more Republicans than Democrats on election day and we find that number at 5% today. That means Obama has to win by a lot with independents and get a fair amount of crossover votes. But right now the Republicans are actually winning over more Democrats than Obama is their voters, and his leads among independents are slim.
So it's possible for Obama to take Arizona in 2012- but it's not going to be easy.
Full results here