Straight Talk: McCain America’s Least Popular Senator

Sen. John McCain is one of the most familiar faces in American politics, and the beneficiary of many years of positive (sometimes adulatory) media coverage. So it’s interesting to note from a new PPP survey of his home state that McCain is now probably America’s most unpopular U.S. Senator.

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.

I’d note from the crosstabs (which the folk at PPP, bless their hearts, always release) that you can’t quite conclude that McCain is just a brave and isolated “centrist” in a polarized political system. Aside from being least popular among independents, he’s also underwater (though by a much lesser extent) among self-identified “moderates” (40/41). “Somewhat liberal” voters (29/54) and “somewhat conservative” voters (30/52) dislike him a lot. And his future prospects don’t look any better: his ratings are strongly negative in every age cohort, but his best group is over-65s (36/52).

Sunday show bookers might want to take note.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.