A new poll has found veteran Arizona Sen. John McCain struggling with GOP primary voters, many of whom want him to be more conservative, Public Policy Polling reports.
"Even among Republican primary voters, just 41 percent approve of the job he's doing to 50 percent who disapprove," the North Carolina-based pollsters said Tuesday, calling McCain 78, "in a whole lot of trouble for re-election next year."
"Only 37 percent of primary voters say they generally support him for renomination, compared to 51 percent who say they would prefer someone 'more conservative,'" the pollsters noted.
McCain, said PPP in a news release, is struggling with those furthest on the right who describe themselves as "very conservative." They give him a 71 percent disapproval rating, offering an in for a possible tea party candidate. Enthusiasm has been growing for a McCain challenger, the Arizona Republic reports.
It noted that three national conservative groups — Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and the Senate Conservatives Fund — were already signaling they'd fund a solid primary competitor for McCain, who has served Arizona as senator since 1987.
The new poll numbers are unlikely to turn the McCain camp's head. The Republic noted that his state's Republican Party had "formally censured him" in January 2014 for being too liberal, but he had worked to mend fences amid their concerns.
The tea party has taken exception to McCain's stances on several issues, including immigration reform and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), making him a target for outside interests to take him down, the Republic said.
Among good news for McCain in the latest poll is that he fares quite well against a slate of possible primary foes. He beats U.S. Rep. David Schweikert 40 to 39; U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon 42 to 40; Kelli Ward, 44 to 31; and Christine Jones, 48 to 27, PPP said.
Another fear factor: McCain's "immense war chest," the pollsters noted.
"McCain will have an immense war chest that may scare off his stronger potential challengers, but it's clear that the distrust he faces from conservatives makes him at least hypothetically vulnerable to a foe on the right," they said.
When he made his announcement in early April that he would seek a sixth nomination, McCain had $3.5 million cash on hand, "along with the ability to raise much more," the Associated Press reported.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.