PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will likely win both the primary and general elections in Arizona, if a new poll is to be believed.
The poll from CNN said McCain, the incumbent, leads his challenger in the primary, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, by a 24-point margin. It also said he leads likely Democratic Senate nominee U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick by 13 points.
KTAR legal analyst Mike O’Neil said McCain’s primary lead is not really a surprise, but the senator’s large margin in the general election is eyebrow-raising.
“That is the biggest number that I have seen yet,” he said of McCain’s lead.
O’Neil said many pollsters had McCain’s lead dwindling over the past 12 months.
“If you go back a year, McCain was classified as a strong favorite,” O’Neil said. “Over the last six months, estimates have put that closer and closer to a dead heat. Not quite a dead heat, but a very small McCain lead.”
O’Neil said McCain’s numbers have been slipping primarily because of the extreme right disagreeing with his more moderate stances and his tepid endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, with whom he has been feuding with for some time.
“He (McCain) is trying to put Donald Trump as much at arm’s length as you possibly can,” O’Neil said.
However, O’Neil said some of those who were once against McCain are now beginning to support him — especially when the choice is between another term with the incumbent or watching the seat go to a Democrat.
KTAR’s Corbin Carson contributed to this report.
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