Poll: Obama within striking distance of Romney in Arizona

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Romney leads 49 to 46 in Arizona, which is within the poll’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error. Arizona has only gone for the Democratic presidential candidate once since 1952.

The poll credits Obama’s strong showing Arizona to independents, a group that Romney has done well with nationally. Obama leads Romney 51 to 39 among independents in Arizona, according to the poll.

“Moderate independent voters make up a substantial portion of the Arizona electorate, and it’s very difficult to win elections without their support,” said Jill Hanauer, President of Project New America, in a statement. “This poll shows that Democrats are gaining ground among independent voters. If this trend continues, we should expect Arizona to remain competitive through November.”

The Obama campaign is hoping its announcement on Friday that the administration will stop deporting illegal immigrants who come to the country at a young age could help the president in states with large Hispanic populations, although most political analysts don’t believe Arizona to be in play for the president in 2012.

The poll also found the state’s Senate race to be within the margin of error, with likely Republican nominee Jeff Flake only leading likely Democratic nominee Richard Carmona by 2 percentage points.