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Most GOP Voters Say McCain Should Quit

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Most Republicans now think Arizona Senator John McCain, their party's presidential nominee in 2008, should step down from the U.S. Senate. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 62% of Likely Republican Voters believe McCain who is terminally ill with cancer should resign from the Senate before May 30 so Arizona voters can elect a replacement in the upcoming November elections. Just 27% of voters in his own party think he should hang on past May 30. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, will name an interim senator to fill McCain’s seat, but if McCain fails to resign before May 30, there won’t be enough time legally for his seat to be on the ballot in November. A special election would be called after that time.

McCain, who has been in the Senate for 33 years, has been a consistent critic of both candidate and President Donald Trump, but Republican voters continue to identify more with the president than with the senator. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of GOP voters say the Republican Party should be more like Trump; only 23% say it should be more like McCain. These findings have changed little since March of last year

Just 43% of Republicans now have a favorable opinion of McCain, and that includes only 18% with a Very Favorable one. Fifty-two percent (52%) view the longtime senator unfavorably, with 25% who regard him Very Unfavorably.

Most Democrats (76%) and just over half (53%) of unaffiliated voters think the GOP should be more like McCain than Trump.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 10 & 13, 2018 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.

Polling suggests that a new breed of RINOs is emerging, and it has nothing to do with its namesakes of old. These are longtime Republican voters who are identifying less and less with the party’s traditional leadership.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of voters who Strongly Approve of Trump think McCain should resign from the Senate before May 30, but 51% of those who Strongly Disapprove of the president disagree. Most who Strongly Approve of Trump also view McCain, who has been outspoken against the president, unfavorably. The majority of those who Strongly Disapprove of Trump like McCain.

More than half of voters who want the Republican party to be more like McCain do not want him to give up his Senate seat in Arizona before that state’s primary elections. Most voters who want the GOP to emulate Trump think McCain should resign within the month.

Most women want the Republican party to follow in McCain’s footsteps, but men are evenly divided.

Generally speaking, the older the voter, the more favorable an opinion they have of McCain, but those under 40 are the most likely to think the Republican party should emulate the Arizona senator.

In October, 57% of Likely GOP Voters believed the Republican party should be more like the president. Just 33% felt the party should be more like Senate Republicans instead. Fifty percent (50%) of all voters thought the party should be more like Senate Republicans. But 49% of Republicans said it was important to them that some GOP senators criticize the man who was elected as a Republican to the presidency.

Most voters continue to believe the Republican-led Congress is doing a poor job.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is joining with Arnold Schwarzenegger to champion a more centrist Republican Party, and Democrats think that’s a great idea. Republicans, however, are sticking with Trump.

Similarly, 62% of Likely Democratic Voters said a year ago that the Republican party should be more like the Bush family than like Trump. But 56% of Republicans said their party should be more like Trump than like the Bushes.

Just 35% of Republican voters believe the attitudes of GOP voters are remaining about the same as those who lead the party. For 59%, their views are diverging, with 35% who say Republicans are becoming more conservative than the party's leadership and 24% who think party voters are becoming liberal.

Most voters think it’s probable Republicans will relinquish control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, and even a sizable number of GOP voters agree.

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

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