by Jim Nintzel
A new survey from Public Policy Polling on everything from Sen. John McCain's popularity to legalizing pot. The press release from PPP:
-PPP's newest Arizona poll finds that John McCain is unpopular with Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike and has now become the least popular Senator in the country. Only 30% of Arizonans approve of the job McCain is doing to 54% who disapprove. There isn't much variability in his numbers by party- he's at 35/55 with Republicans, 29/53 with Democrats, and 25/55 with independents, suggesting he could be vulnerable to challenges in both the primary and general elections the next time he's up.
McCain trails in hypothetical general election match ups with both 2012 nominee Richard Carmona (41/35) and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (42/35). He would lead though in a match up with former Governor Janet Napolitano, 44/36. This has the potential to be an interesting one in 2016.
-The Presidential race in Arizona in 2016 could be interesting as well. Hillary Clinton narrowly trails Jeb Bush (45/44), but leads Chris Christie (44/41), Rand Paul (46/43), and Mike Huckabee (47/41). Arizona could finally reach its long anticipated battleground status this cycle.
Ted Cruz leads the Republican primary field in the state with 16% to 14% for Rand Paul, 12% for Chris Christie, 11% each for Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, 8% each for Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, 4% for Marco Rubio, and 2% for Bobby Jindal. This is the best poll showing we've found for Cruz in a long time- he leads based on his strength with 'very conservative' voters, among whom he gets 22%.
-Almost four years after it passed, we're finding declining support for Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona. In October of 2010 we found voters favored it by a 25 point margin, 60/35. They still support it now, but it's only by an 8 point spread at 44/36. The bill's popularity has declined with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
-Jeff Flake's poll numbers went into the gutter last April after he voted against requiring background checks on all gun purchases, and they haven't seen any improvement since then. Only 27% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 47% who disapprove. Republicans only narrowly give him positive marks (46/27), while Democrats (10/71) are far more unified in their disapproval of him.
-Arizona goes along with every other state we've polled in supporting increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour. 53% of voters support such a change to only 37% who are opposed. It has almost unanimous support from Democrats (88/8) and 29% of Republicans support it as well.
-Arizonans give strong bipartisan support to the idea of legalizing medical marijuana- 67% are in favor of it to only 26% who are opposed. Democrats (92/5) and independents (67/22) are both overwhelmingly in favor of it and even Republicans (47/44) are narrowly for it. The state is much more evenly divided when it comes to the issue of recreational marijuana use- 46% think it should be legal to 48% who think it should continue to be illegal.
-Arizona is not a big college sports state- a plurality of voters (35%) say they don't have a preference when it comes to the Arizona/Arizona State rivalry. Among those who do the Sun Devils have a slight advantage at 34/31. The school's fan bases don't have terribly strong opinions about their major coaches either, although they're happy to the extent they do have them. With Wildcats fans Sean Miller gets a 52/2 approval and Rich Rodriguez comes in at 48/5. With Sun Devil backers Todd Graham gets a 44/3 rating and Herb Sendek registers at 33/7.
-Finally despite the state's ancestral ties to a lot of teams who have long held their Spring Training in the state, Arizonans are still strongly Diamondbacks fans. 50% say that's their favorite MLB team to 7% for the Rockies, 5% for the Yankees, 4% for the Red Sox, 3% for the Cubs, and 1 or 2% for every other team polled. Diamondbacks fans are bullish about their prospects for this year- 81% think they'll make the playoffs, 42% think they'll make the World Series, and 23% even think they'll win it.