Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., might be in for a tough election season.
A poll released Tuesday from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, shows that only 35 percent of Republican primary voters approve of the job he is doing, whereas 50 percent disapprove.
On the other hand, it seems like good news for McCain that he has a 13-point lead in the GOP primary. Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator, gets 26 percent to McCain's 39 percent, with all other candidates under 5 percent. But 27 percent of voters remain undecided and Ward only has 41 percent name recognition, which means there's still time for her to grow. The primary election isn't until August 30.
When the race is polled as simply McCain versus Ward, both get 41 percent support.
Both Republicans enjoy modest leads over Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz. McCain leads her by 6 points, and Ward beats Kirkpatrick by just two percentage points in the general election poll. But again, both Ward and Kirkpatrick have room for building name recognition before November.
Apparently, even being a former presidential nominee doesn't mean you're safe from re-election problems.
But the McCain campaign doesn't seem too worried about the poll. "We put zero stock in a partisan Democrat poll that is obviously aimed at boosting John McCain's opponents in the primary and general elections," McCain campaign Communications Director Lorna Romero said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "And even if you took this bogus poll at face value, it actually shows McCain in a stronger position today than PPP's last poll, with his favorability up eight points since March. John McCain has always known this will be a tight race - that's why he's built a strong campaign that's ready for any challenge this November. We're confident that voters will choose John McCain, a great Arizona hero whose record of service and sacrifice is unmatched, over a documented conspiracy theorist or a rubber-stamp for President Obama's failed agenda."
Update: This article was updated with the statement from the McCain campaign.
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.