John McCain: America’s Least Popular Senator

According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, John McCain is the least popular currently serving Senator:

Sen. John McCain is the least popular senator in the country of those surveyed by Public Policy Polling, with low marks from members of his own party, independents and Democrats.six

Just 30 percent of Arizona voters approve of the job the Republican senator is doing, while 54 percent disapprove, according to a PPP release Thursday. That is the worst of any senator’s polling in the nation that PPP has found.

Among members of his own party, McCain is at 35 percent approval to 55 percent disapproval; the comparable figures among Democrats are 29 percent to 53 percent, and among independents, 25 percent to 55 percent.

McCain also trails most potential challengers if he chooses to run again in 2016. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords led McCain 42 percent to 35 percent in a hypothetical matchup, and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona led McCain 41 percent to 35 percent.

McCain would also likely face a serious challenge inside his own party for the Senate nomination in 2016, most likely from one of the four Republicans representing the state in the House of Representatives, although one could imagine Governor Jan Brewer, who is barred from running for a second term this year as a potential challenger as  well. At the same time, McCain will turn 80 before the 2016 election and there’s been plenty of speculation that he may decide to retire rather than running for a sixth term in the Senate, especially considering that 2016 would mark his 36th year in electoral politics. Obviously, if McCain’s numbers continue to be this bad, retirement will become more likely than not.

FILED UNDER: 2014 Election, Congress, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Franklin says:

    If he hadn’t gotten the nomination in 2008 and therefore never analyzed closely, his polling numbers from Democrats and especially Independents would be WAY higher. And he’d actually be remembered as a maverick, whether he ever was one or not.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    I prefer the Ed Harris version of McCain now anyway…

  3. michael reynolds says:

    He’s a sad case. From brave prisoner of war to maverick to the reckless fool who gave us Sarah Palin to incoherent, raving crank. A life very poorly lived.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Let’s see – Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio – there’s a lot to disapprove of in Arizona.

    When did Arizona become the West’s version of Florida?

  5. C. Clavin says:
  6. JohnMcC says:

    @michael reynolds: I’ve thought the same about Duke Cunningham. Both of them were the kind of guy you’d want on your side in a war. Neither lived the rest of their lives with character and honor.

  7. Pinky says:

    I looked over that poll, and I’m still not sure how they got from that to him being the least popular in the country – unless there were 99 other polls they didn’t footnote.