by Jim Nintzel
Public Policy Polling has released a new survey in the Arizona Senate race. The numbers are not good for Sen. John McCain:
John McCain has had a Charlie Crist like drop in his approval numbers over the last six months, seeing double digit declines in his popularity with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. As a result a majority of Arizona voters now disapprove of his job performance.
55% of voters disapprove of McCain to just 34% who give him good marks. When PPP polled Arizona in September he was at a positive 48/42 approval spread, so he's dropped 27 points on the margin since that time. McCain's biggest fall in popularity has come with Republicans as he's been more aggressively challenged from the right by J.D. Hayworth. Where 65% gave him good marks last fall now just 48% do, a 17 point decline. He's also gone down 13 points with independents (from 41% to 28%) and 11 points with Democrats (from 32% to 21%.)
McCain has tried to shed his 'maverick' image in order to survive the Republican primary and
the numbers indicate that's working, but at the cost of diminished support from Democrats and independents. Just 28% of voters feel that McCain is an 'independent voice for Arizona' while 55% are more inclined to describe him as a 'partisan voice for national Republicans.'
Despite all that McCain still looks like a solid favorite against likely Democratic opponent Rodney Glassman, leading him 49-33. That does represent a significant tightening since September when McCain led 55-25, but doesn't put him in a particularly dire situation. The reason for the disconnect between McCain's approval rating and his support for reelection is that while only 48% of Republicans express approval of his job performance, 78% will still vote for him in a general election.
Democrats' only real shot at winning the seat then is if Hayworth can win the primary, and we find Glassman leading Hayworth 42-39 in such a scenario. Hayworth is extremely unpopular with only 23% of voters holding a favorable opinion of him to 50% with an unfavorable one. Democrats (6/68 favorability) predictably see him in a dim light but he doesn't do a whole lot better with independents (22/49). Republicans are evenly divided with 37% viewing him favorably and 37% unfavorably.
These numbers have very little to do with Glassman at this point, as 78% of voters have no opinion of him.
Democrats have a very good chance here if Hayworth manages to find a way to win the primary...what are the odds of that happening? We'll have those numbers tomorrow.