McCain, Flake race for least popular senator prize

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The two Republican Arizona senators who worked with Democrats to pass an immigration bill last June have managed to sink their poll ratings to record lows.

Sen. John McCain has reached a 30 percent approval rating from Arizona voters.

Sen. Jeff Flake, however, managed to reach further down to 27 percent approval, according to the new survey of 870 voters by Public Policy Polling.

But McCain managed to boost his disapproval ratings up to 55 percent, while Flake only reached 47 percent.

That means McCain is five points ahead of Flake in the unpopularity contest, at -25 percent to Flake’s -20 percent.

“McCain has worst poll numbers in the country,” declared the PPP press statement.

Their Titanic-level poll ratings, however, aren’t lethal yet. McCain won’t face his constituents until 2016, and Flake won’t have to run until 2018.

The other two Republican senators who helped write the immigration bill, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, also saw their poll ratings fall during the immigration fight.

All four joined with New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and President Barack Obama to pass the Senate’s immigration rewrite in 2013.

The bill would award an amnesty to at least 11 million illegals, double the inflow of Democratic-leaning immigrants to two million per year for the next decade, and double the annual inflow of guest workers above one million in perpetuity. That’s enough new immigrants and guest-workers to equal the 40 million Americans expected to turn 18 during the next decade.

Unsurprisingly, the bill is popular among progressives and business lobbyists, but is toxic among GOP voters and swing voters.

Sixty percent of Republicans and 63 percent of conservatives would be less likely to vote for a candidate who endorsed amnesty, according to a March 4 poll by the Washington Post and ABC News.

So far, GOP leaders in the House — including Reps. Paul Ryan and Bob Goodlatte — have not publicly followed the trail blazed by McCain and Flake.

Arizona voters aren’t eager to back the Senate’s bill. A plurality still back a state law, dubbed 1070, that was struck down by the Supreme Court’s claim that states cannot apply stat laws to curb illegal immigration, even when the federal government decides not to enforce federal law. Forty-four percent of state voters — including 28 percent of Hispanics — back the canceled law, and only 36 percent still oppose enforcement.

McCain’s three-point approval lead over Flake may be due to his relatively strong support from Democrats. McCain garners approval from 28 percent of President Barack Obama’s 2012 supporters. Flake, however, has only support from 9 percent of Obama’s supporters.

Flake is supported by less than half — 46 percent — of the voters who backed Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012. McCain, however, is supported by only 31 percent of Romney’s voters. That’s only three points above his support from Obama voters, according to the survey.

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