John McCain May Have a Serious Primary Challenge, Poll Shows
Senator John McCain is in "big trouble" for the Republican primary next year, according to one pollster.
Despite this primary election not taking place for well over a year, only 37 percent of Republican voters told Public Policy Polling that they generally support McCain for reelection, while 51 percent say they'd prefer someone more conservative.
"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," writes pollster Tom Jensen.
Public Policy Polling also tested a few Republican candidates as possible challengers to McCain, but none of these challengers actually got a lead on McCain in a hypothetical head-to-head race.
McCain led Congressman David Schweikert 40 percent to 39 percent, and Congressman Matt Salmon 42 percent to 40 percent, which were both classified as toss-ups.
State Senator Kelli Ward trailed McCain 44-31, and former gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones was behind 48-27.
The good news for McCain is that Schweikert, apparently the most formidable primary opponent, has made it sound unlikely that he'll run.
As for the general election in 2016, McCain leads any potential Democratic challenger, so it's the primary that could get tough for him.
Again, this poll is very early. Shortly after JD Hayworth entered the primary race against McCain in late 2010, a major poll put 45 percent for McCain and 43 percent for Hayworth.
McCain won that primary with 56 percent of the vote, compared to Hayworth's 32 percent.
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