Five-term DC insider Sen. John McCain is in a dead heat with challenger Dr. Kelli Ward among GOP voters presented with a choice between the two, a poll released Tuesday reveals.
McCain, the senator Hillary Clinton called her favorite Republican, is facing a mere 35 percent approval rating among GOP voters as he heads into the August 30 primary election, according to the new poll by Public Policy Polling. Three additional Republicans are running for McCain’s seat, but they poll at only 2-4 percent each. McCain is polling at 39 percent with these three and Ward in the race. Ward comes in at 26 percent, and 27 percent of those polled are undecided.
The poll shows McCain holding stronger among moderates while Ward leads among very conservative voters. McCain and Ward are tied at 41-41 percent in a head-to-head matchup, even though Ward has only 41 percent name recognition.
Head-to-head with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, high name recognition McCain leads Kirkpatrick only 42-36. Kirkpatrick’s name recognition was a mere 58 percent in the PPP poll. A matchup between Kirkpatrick and Ward, a former Arizona state senator, comes up 35-37.
In response to the new poll, Ward told Breitbart News:
After nearly four decades in DC, Republicans are used to Establishment John’s six year cycle of election year conservatism. In between, he doesn’t know which team he’s playing for half the time, and he surrenders on all the issues that matter most.
My background as a mother, military wife, and family doctor and my record as an Arizona state senator are attracting strong and growing support because Arizona Republicans want a U.S. Senator who will fix the VA, stop illegal immigration, and finally secure our border. They want a conservative champion for AZ, not DC.
Last August, Ward polled nine points ahead of McCain in a Gravis Marketing poll.
That poll followed a PPP release last May showing McCain’s approval rating at 41 percent among Arizona Republicans. At the same time, only 36 percent of general Arizona voters approved of their own Sen. McCain. Only 37 percent expressed willingness to support McCain, while 51 percent said they wanted a more conservative choice as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Arizona. In a hypothetical matchup between McCain and Ward, McCain beat Ward 44-31, compared to the 41-41 tie they are at in the most recent PPP poll.
In January 2014, members of McCain’s own party in Arizona officially censured the sitting senator on the basis that he “amassed a long and terrible record of drafting, co-sponsoring and voting for legislation best associated with liberal Democrats.” This entailed “such [things] as Amnesty, funding for ObamaCare, the debt ceiling, assaults on the Constitution and 2nd amendment, and has continued to support liberal nominees.”
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump held a rally in Phoenix last year that had McCain condemning some Arizonans as “crazies.” McCain said that Trump’s rally was “very hurtful to me,” and elaborated by explaining, “because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”
Trump won the Arizona presidential preference election by a wide margin with 47.1 percent of the vote.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.