PPP's new Arizona poll finds that John McCain has a negative approval rating with Republican primary voters, and is at pretty serious risk of losing nomination for another term. Only 35% of GOP voters approve of the job McCain is doing to 50% who disapprove. He's in particularly poor standing with conservative voters. Among 'somewhat conservative' voters his approval spread is 33/52, and among 'very conservative' voters it drops all the way down to 18/67.
McCain is polling at only 39% in the Republican primary field. He's benefiting from having multiple opponents. Kelli Ward is at 26%, Alex Meluskey at 4%, Scott McBean at 3%, and Clair Van Steenwyk at 2%. 27% are undecided. McCain is very strong among moderates, leading Ward 60-10. But among 'somewhat conservative' voters he leads just 34-29, and with 'very conservative' ones he's down 35-28. When you narrow the field down to just a choice between McCain and Ward, it's a tie at 41%. Ward is polling this competitively at this point despite having only 41% name recognition.
Even if McCain does manage to survive the Republican primary, it's not going to be a walk in the park for him in the general. His overall approval rating is 34/52, and he leads Ann Kirkpatrick only 42/36 in a head to head match up. The race is close despite Kirkpatrick having only 58% name recognition at this point. If Ward advances to the general election it looks like this contest will basically be a toss up- she gets 37% to 35% for Kirkpatrick so it's pretty much a wash.
One issue that's tricky for McCain right now is the Supreme Court fight. 61% of voters in the state say they support confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, compared to only 24% who are opposed to them. By a 17 point margin voters say they're less likely to vote for a Senator who opposes hearings- 40% say that stance makes them less likely to vote for someone, compared to only 23% who consider it a positive. But among Republican voters there's 35/44 opposition to hearings, and voters say by a 16 point spread that they're more likely to vote for someone who opposes hearings. So McCain's obstructionism might be helpful in getting him through the primary, but it's a completely different story when you get to the general. For instance independents support hearings, 65/21.
The Presidential election is pretty competitive in Arizona at this point. Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton just 40-38, with Gary Johnson at 6% and Jill Stein at 2%. There's a significant 'Never Trump' contingent among Arizona Republicans. While Clinton gets 80% of the Democratic vote, Trump is only getting 68% of the GOP vote at this stage. That number tracks with our finding that just 65% of Republicans say they're comfortable with Trump as their nominee to 22% who say they aren't. When you narrow the field to just Clinton and Trump though, Trump's lead goes up to 45/41 because his share of the GOP vote increases to 77%. 15% of Republicans are undecided compared to 8% of Democrats, so if the party really unites around Trump eventually he'll get close to being up by the kind of margins Republicans are accustomed to in the state but for now it's tight.