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McCain vs. Trump? GOP Voters Choose …

Do Republican voters have a slightly more favorable opinion of Donald Trump these days than they do of Senator John McCain?

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of Likely Republican Voters view Trump at least somewhat favorably, and 51% feel that way about McCain. That’s a statistical tie, but included in those numbers are 26% with a Very Favorable opinion of the billionaire developer and just 14% with a Very Favorable view of the Arizona senator who was the party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

Forty-five percent (45%) of Republicans view Trump unfavorably, with 22% who share a Very Unfavorable view of him. McCain is seen unfavorably by 44%, including 16% with a Very Unfavorable opinion. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

When Trump entered the GOP race in mid-June, 55% of Republicans expressed a favorable opinion of him, including 11% with a Very Favorable one. Only 27% said he was even somewhat likely to be the eventual nominee.

Among all likely voters, it’s a different story, largely because Democrats have an overwhelmingly negative opinion of Trump. Thirty-four percent (34%) of Likely U.S. Voters view Trump favorably, while 64% have an unfavorable opinion of him. From these same voters, McCain earns favorables of 44% and unfavorables of 47%.

McCain criticized Trump recently for firing up the “crazies” with his comments linking illegal immigration to increased crime in America. Trump countered by criticizing McCain’s reputation as a war hero because of his five years as a North Vietnamese prisoner of war. "People that fought hard and weren't captured and went through a lot, they get no credit," Trump said. "Nobody even talks about them. They're like forgotten, and I think that's a shame, if you want to know the truth."

Trump has refused to apologize for his comments about McCain despite criticism from a number of senior Republicans and a great deal of negative media coverage.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 20-21, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Interestingly, 53% of all voters agree with Trump that illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime in America. Five percent (5%) think illegal immigration decreases the level of serious crime in this country, while 33% say it has no impact.

Following the murder of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant from Mexico, voters want to get tough on so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to enforce immigration laws.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of conservative voters have a favorable opinion of Trump, compared to 49% who say the same of McCain. Among moderate and liberal voters, however, the senator is far and away the favorite.

Among voters who view Trump Very Favorably, 59% hold an unfavorable opinion of McCain. Sixty-three percent (63%) of those who have a Very Favorable view of McCain don’t like Trump.

McCain has been a troublesome subject for many Republicans nationally in recent years. Following McCain’s criticism in 2013 of fellow GOP Senator Rand Paul for his filibuster challenging the Obama administration policy on drones, Republicans nationally expressed a much more favorable view of Paul than of McCain

Just before Election Day 2008, Republicans expressed more happiness with their vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin than with McCain at the top of the ticket. 

Most voters expect biased media coverage of the 2016 presidential race, and the media response to recent immigration comments by Trump and Hillary Clinton is a good case in point

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 20-21, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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