Poll: John McCain leads challenger Ann Kirkpatrick by 1 point in AZ Senate race

A poll released Thursday by Merrill Poll found John McCain is in a tight race for reelection this year. From the Merrill Poll press release:

In a matchup between Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona voters also are split. McCain draws 41 percent while Kirkpatrick draws 40 percent, with 3 percent saying neither and 16 percent undecided…

The race between McCain and Kirkpatrick is competetive across all demographic groups, with the exception of social conservatism/liberalism. The more conservative voters are, the more likely they are to support McCain.

Obviously 16% is still a large number in the undecided column but it’s a sign that McCain may have a real race on his hands. As the Arizona Republic reported Wednesday, one possible cause of tight race is McCain refusal, along with other GOP senators, to hold hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee:

One partisan poll commissioned by the pro-Obama, labor-union-backed national organization Americans United for Change suggests that McCain’s stand has already put himself at odds with Arizona voters.

The automated telephone poll of 533 Arizona voters, conducted March 1-2 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C., indicated that 56 percent want the Supreme Court vacancy filled this year, compared  with 41 percent  who want it left empty and 3 percent who weren’t sure.

As to McCain’s position, 55 percent said it made them less likely to vote for his re-election this year; 21 percent said it made them more likely to vote for him; and 24 percent said it wouldn’t make any difference.

As I suggested Monday, Obama’s chances of getting Judge Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court still look fairly slim. However, by nominating a relatively centrist judge, Obama hands his party an issue it can use in its attempt to retake the Senate. Even before Garland was selected, Kirkpatrick was using McCain’s refusal to fill the SCOTUS vacancy against him. Some variation of this ad will likely be run in every state where a GOP Senator is seeking re-election this year:


Kirkpatrick’s campaign just published a press release on the poll results which describes the race as a “toss-up.”