McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other Survey USA Goodies

Lots of fascinating new stuff out from Survey USA's new Senator rankings, as Chris notes in Breaking Blue.

First up, McCain.  In Arizona, he's taking a beating in his approval/disapproval ratings.  He was up 72-24 a month ago, he's now 64-29.  That's a 13 point swing.  What's more interesting is where the swing is happening.  Among Democrats, his approval rating has dropped from 73-24 to 58-32, a drop of 23 points.  Among independents, he goes from 72-25 to 64-30, a drop of  13 points (which I would imagine is occurring among left-leaning independents).  Among Republicans, he stayed neutral, going from 70-24 to 72-26.  McCain's partisanship isn't new, but the willingness of Democrats to call him on it is new, and this seems to be having an effect.

Next up, Lieberman.  His numbers haven't moved in any statistically significant manner.  He's below 50% among liberals, which will become more of a problem if he keeps pissing off influential journalists by yelling at them.  He still has very high ratings in Connecticut among Republicans and generally good favorables among Democrats.

Both Santorum and Burns are in desperately weak Katherine Harris-esque territory, though Republicans still seem to like both of them.

In New Jersey, Bob Menendez is shoring up his approval ratings quite dramatically.

Two places I'm watching are Arizona and Virginia.  While I think Kyl is vulnerable, and the numbers show him at below 50%, Jim Pederson hasn't yet done anything to prove he can win this.  And in Virginia, George Allen looks like he can be taken down with the right campaign, though it will not be easy.

An interesting set of numbers.  I wonder, what do you think explains the drop in McCain's approval rating among Democrats and left-leaning Independents?

Tags: Bob Menendez, Conrad Burns, George Allen, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Rick Santorum, Survey USA (all tags)



Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

Don't read too much into it. Poll results bounce around, especially below the presidential level.

by cwilson 2006-03-23 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

I bet some of the polls cited have tiny samples and huge margins of error.  These polls will mean something -- around Labor Day.  Obviously Senators like Burns are in trouble but I don't read much into the McCain drop -- he is still in the approval stratosphere.  I'm afraid of McCain as a candidate in 2006 -- very afraid.  

by howardpark 2006-03-23 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

Oops -- I'm cowering in fear about McCain in 2008, not 2006.

by howardpark 2006-03-23 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

I would still think that a drop-off among liberals and independents means that liberals/independents have noticed his recent Bush-suckupitude.  And of course, without liberals/independents, McCain would never be able to win in 2008 (because even if he manages to get Bush's base on his side, he'll never inspire the kind of fanatical adulation that they gave to Bush).

by maestroanonymo 2006-03-23 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

I believe McCain is very well positioned to do well among independents and will, if he wins Republican primaries in the South, have Bush levels of support among Republicans.  If so, that is the sort of dymamic that could lead to a true landslide.  People often follow thier first impressions.  Even if McCain sucks up to Bush relentlessly over the next two years, he will still have an image among many voters as a "straight talking" maverick.  People want to like McCain and seem to remember what they like about him rather than what they disagree with.

McCain has a bad temper -- not an asset in a long campaign.  The wingnuts on the GOP side don't like McCain -- perhaps they really believe the rumors the Bush Campaign spread in South Carolina in 2000.  It's not hard to imagine that McCain will implode.  It's just a little easier for me to imagine him winning -- big.

by howardpark 2006-03-24 02:21AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

I think it's the way he's sucking up to the Bush base so publicly.  That, combined with the President's incompetence (both political and policy) is making people reaslize that this guy isn't maverick they thought he was.  And that's just about all there is to like about him, the 'maverick' and 'straight-talk' qualities, which are bogus, are all he has and they are being exposed to the non-freeper crowd now.

by teknofyl 2006-03-23 02:57PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

There was a post a few days ago about McCain being the last Bush Republican, and I think that's significantly hurting his approval ratings (especially among independents, who are becoming far less Bush-friendly as time goes on).

I always wondered why John McCain carried water for the GOP despite the fact that they kept him out of the White House in 2000.  He's supported Bush, he's campaigned for him, he's campaigned for other right-wingers and radical conservatives...but why? Why go through to much trouble to placate your former political enemies?

It's because McCain is biding his time. He wants another shot at the White House, so he's sucking up to Bush and to the GOP establishment because he wants their endorsement in 2000.  He wants to become the de facto GOP nominee in 2008, just like Bush was in 2000, and he thinks making nice with the President and the Republican Party will do that.

Problem is, he's still riding the Bush Bandwagon, long after most of the country has already bailed.  If he starts distancing himself now, he'll incur the further ire of the GOP establishment, and it will be blatantly obvious he's trying to distance himself from an unpopular President.  On the other hand, if he sticks around, he will be dragged down along with the President and the GOP as another Bush water-carrier.  

Either McCain saddles up to the GOP establishment and drives his approval ratings into the ground, or he jumps ship and draws the ire of the Republican party.

Either way, Dear John isn't looking too good, and good riddance.  America does not need another posturing, pandering, faux-moderate Republican driving it into the ground.

by Neimad 2006-03-23 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, and Other

I see this is a popular observation, and I agree. It may be smart--McCain is sacrificing some margin in Arizona to position himself for 08 nationally.

I saw somewhere that Bush Republicans favor Guliani, and see McCain negatively.  That's where he may be going, but it's dangerous territory.  Unless the Bush mantle comes complete with a Diebold guarantee, McCain is likely to lose Dems and Independents nationally as he is in AZ.  Or maybe he's betting that only Republicans will notice until after he's got the nomination, and then he moves back to being independent john.  

by Captain Future 2006-03-24 12:28AM | 0 recs
Lieberman's "confrontation" overstated

I am not Lieberman fan.  In fact, I hope he loses his primary and we can elect a loyal Democrat to his seat in the US Senate.   I was surprised to listen to the tape of the radio show in which Lieberman supposedly yelled at his questioner.  This is totally untrue.  He droned on and on in his annoying monotone, but at no time appeared to lose his temper.  I suggest readers listen and judge for themselves.  

by nytrialman 2006-03-23 03:22PM | 0 recs
With Kyl at 45%, you'd think Pederson

would get off his ass.  What the fuck is he doing?

by jgarcia 2006-03-23 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: With Kyl at 45%, you'd think Pederson

I have to agree with this, wtf is up with the Pederson campaign? Perhaps they've calculated that silence is the best strategy at this juncture but I'm not sure that's very smart.

I do think that McCain showing his true colors will only help to neutralize him as an asset to the Kyl campaign in reaching out to independents & moderate-Republicans in the '06 election. Tying both Kyl & McCain to the sinking ship-of-Bush should benefit Pederson (as will Napolitano's popularity & the possible 2 or 3 competitive Congressional seats) but come on, where is Pederson's campaign? He needs to begin raising his name-ID & fast in order to raise cash & beat a well-funded incumbent.

by AZJustice 2006-03-23 07:37PM | 0 recs
Hah! Only in Nebraska

Will you find more Republicans than Democrats approving of Democrat Bill Nelson, and more Democrats than Republicans approving of Chuck Hagel...

Reminds me a little bit of the Patriot Act Filibuster.

by KainIIIC 2006-03-23 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain

McCain's been getting very close to Bush, and the stench of failure's starting to stick to him.

He's trying to line up Bush donors, and has consequently been walking away from his stands on campaign finance reform and torture. (Not sure if he ever had a stand on the deficit.) He also wimped out on fighting Bush over greenhouse gases.

As for 2008. Well, it's a long way away, but it's hard to believe anyone would vote for a candidate whose Iraq plan is "send more troops."

by Bush Bites 2006-03-23 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings

13 point swing?  That's some interesting math, genius.  By that computational method, if a poll went from 80%-20% to 20%-80%, you'd have a 120% swing!  It's obviously an 8% swing at best.

by T Bone 2006-03-23 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings

Approval ratings don't really mean much in and of themselves- disapproval ratings also matter.  A candidate with 50% approval can be sitting pretty if their disapproval is extremely low (say, 10%), but they could be in serious trouble if their disapproval is relatively high (like 50%).

A better measure of a candidate's popularity is net approval, which is their approval rating minus their disapproval rating.  This uses both approval and disapproval to chart where a candidate stands among all voters, not just the ones who approve of him or her.

McCain's approval-disapproval ratings were 72-24 a month ago; now they're 64-29.  His net approval a month ago was 48 (72 minus 24) and now it's 35 (64 minus 29).  Therefore, his net approval ratings underwent a 13-point swing in the last month.

by Neimad 2006-03-23 07:19PM | 0 recs
Close to Katrina Rating

McCain's 64% is his second lowest rating. His lowest was 63% in October (post Katrina).

My hunch is that this means a certain chunk of the population is in a "I couldn't bring myself to vote for any Republican" mood right now. That can all change tomorrow, though.

by niq 2006-03-23 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's Approval Ratings Punctured, Etc

About time McCain's numbers start going down (still a little too high).

I'm hoping Kyl's sink lower - Cheney was in Tucson today for a $500-a-plate fundraiser.  How come in NJ, the Republicans like to get caught in traffic whereas Kyl is thrilled to have Cheney's support?  Come ON Pederson (although he may be keeping a low profile right now after the situation with his son).  But he has to start something now before summer really starts and everyone leaves.

As for why Mccain's numbers are going down...I haven't seen letters like this in a while (3rd letter): 0585.php

I also saw some comments on an AZ forum (out of the AZ Republic, I think) reflecting on a Nora Ephron post on Huffington (I wish I could find it again).  There were so many comments that said that although they fit Ephron's profile of a McCain-phile, they wouldn't vote for him for prez (and didn't know anyone who would).  Did my little heart good.

by curlyq 2006-03-23 08:42PM | 0 recs
Just curious

Did I miss something with Dick Durbin that sent him into a tailspin?

Also, is Jim Bunning's losing of it just becoming more obvious or are other factors at play here (he's quietly nosedived into Santorum/Burns territory and his last month plummet was pretty sharp)?  

by thurst 2006-03-24 03:37AM | 0 recs
Too close to Bush and there's SD

The whole straight talk business is undermined when you suck up to the lyin' bastard in the White House.  His pursuit of the nomination in DC circles is moving him from maverick status to conventional republican anti-choice status.  

That SD statute is gonna wreak havoc on these guys.

by jayackroyd 2006-03-24 05:05AM | 0 recs


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