This is in no small part because of the increase in Latino populations and a series of legislative efforts aimed at immigration — with the Republican governor and state Legislature of Arizona leading the way — that polls suggest have created a backlash among many Latino voters.

“It is going to be a swing state,” said Jim Messina, the president’s campaign manager. “The question is, whether we can get enough people registered to put it in play this year.”

“If you just close your eyes and look at the census numbers, look at the number of unregistered voters, look at how this is the only state in the country that didn’t have a primary or a contested general in 2008, so there was no organizing,” Mr. Messina said as he ticked off the factors that work in their favor. “And look next door. Look at New Mexico, look at Colorado, look at California. All that stuff is going to come to Arizona. The question is, can we get it there in time? How expensive is it do it?”…

A critical obstacle for Mr. Obama is the economy, which continues to struggle here, and which Republicans argue will hurt him with all groups of voters. “The fact that Arizona is suffering through with a tough economy, that’s not boding well with independent voters,” Mr. Wikfors said.