A recent poll found that more Republican voters have a favorable view of presidential candidate Donald Trump than they do of Arizona's long-time U.S. Senator, John McCain. The telephone survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports polled 1,000 people on July 20 and 21 and revealed that at least 52 percent of likely Republican voters reported having at least a somewhat favorable view of Trump, while 51 percent feel that way about McCain.
The margin of error for the study, +/- 3 percent, is greater than the difference in results, but when asked if they have a very favorable view of the politicians, the difference became more extreme: 26 percent of Republican voters have a very favorable view of Trump, while only 14 percent view McCain very favorably.
Polls are polls, we get that. But pause for one minute and consider the two people compared in this study. One is a real estate mogul who has no real political credentials other than a failed attempt to run for president, while the other has been a U.S. senator for 28 years. (Although, to be fair, he also has a failed attempt to run for president under his belt.)
Trump and McCain have been pitted against one another in recent weeks after Trump bashed McCain during a rally in Phoenix, and McCain responded by criticizing Trump for “firing up the crazies.” During the ensuing tit-for-tat insult war, Trump then questioned whether McCain, who spent more than five years as a North Vietnamese prisoner of war, deserves to be called “a war hero.” McCain shot back with a demand that Trump apologize to all prisoners of war. (Trump demanded McCain apologize before issuing what Politico called a half-apology to the Senator.)
A different poll conducted this week by Public Policy Polling found that 22 percent of Republicans agree with Trump that McCain doesn't deserve to be called a war hero, while 50 percent disagree with his statements. (For the record, the RNC called McCain “an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than we can imagine – period,” in a statement, and has asked Trump to tone down his rhetoric.)
How do Trump and McCain supporters feel about the other candidate? Well, this week's Rasmussen Report also discovered that “among voters who view Trump very favorably, 59 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of McCain, [while] 63 percent of those who have a very favorable view of McCain don't like Trump.” The numbers help confirm that the over-sensationalized feud between the two could explode again at any minute.
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We won't bore you with details about Trump's shocking amount of support in national polls or McCain's uphill battle to maintain his Senate seat — you get enough of that. But here's one more important statistic that hopefully helps put this data into perspective:
When those polled included both Democrats and Republicans, only 34 percent said they had a favorable view of Trump (64 percent do not), and only 44 percent view McCain favorably (47 do not).
But then again, we're more than a year from the presidential and Senate election, meaning anything could still happen on this roller coaster.