McCain and Immigration polls

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Two new polls are out on immigration reform and Senator John McCain. The McCain poll shows his job performance approval rating is at its lowest point in 21 years. Jim Haynes of the Behavior Research Center will talk about the latest Rocky Mountain polls.

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Senator John McCain's job approval ratings are at their lowest in 21 years. That's according to a poll released earlier this week by the Phoenix-based Behavior Research Center. Joining us now is Jim Haynes, president and CEO of Behavior Research Center. It's good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Jim Haynes: Always a pleasure.

Ted Simons: Lowest approval rating in 21 years. Let's start with when this poll was taken. Before immigration, background checks?

Jim Haynes: Before both.

Ted Simons: What do we take from that?

Jim Haynes: The main thing I take from it is that people are down generally with regard to incumbent politicians. We see that with relatively low numbers for the governor, we see it all over the country with incumbent senators, governors. People just aren't happy. It goes with their whole attitude about the economy. They're not pleased with where things are.

Ted Simons: As far as McCain is concerned, is it job performance? Is it personality? Fatigue?

Jim Haynes: It could be any of the three of those, yes. The senator has always been a Maverick. He doesn't follow party lines. There's been a lot of appealing things about him throughout his career but every time you kind of stray from the farm, you pick up some animosity. So I don't know what it is.

Ted Simons: It sounds like from what your survey shows, for some Republicans, he's not enough of a conservative. For some Democrats, he's not enough of a Maverick. He's not enough of some things for people.

Jim Haynes: That is correct, another way of saying it to some Republicans, he's not enough of a Republican and to some democrats, he's still a Republican.

Ted Simons: There you go.

Jim Haynes: That's the price a Maverick is going to pay and senator McCain has always realized that. He's his own man. But at the end of the day, it's still not an indicator of whether he can or will be re-elected.

Ted Simons: As far as McCain's numbers historically, 21-year low here but does it ebb and flow with him?

Jim Haynes: It ebbs and flows from about 2005, 2006, it's been on kind of a downhill slide. That's also not unusual for a long-term incumbent. You may recall Senator Goldwater in his last run for office almost got beat at the end of the night. Most of us thought Phil Schultz was the senator. And, you know, it's hard.

Ted Simons: We mentioned pre or post immigration reform bill. You have another survey regarding immigration. Tell us about that and about how that may factor into the next polls about senator McCain.

Jim Haynes: I think it's surprising, it's going to be surprising to a lot of people. Three quarters of Arizonans support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that are in the country now based on four criteria that they have no criminal record, that they pay taxes, that they register their presence here, and that they learn to speak English. What we did was take all the normal objections of kind of anti-immigrant groups and say okay, let's take them off the table. Now, what do you think? And the public said no problem. They feel the same way with respect to a path for work permits for those that aren't interested in membership, that just want to come here and work. I think the Senators, leadership on those issues is going to bode very well for it. I think he's on Arizona's side, on those issues.

Ted Simons: As far as the immigration poll is concerned, specifically those numbers, changes different than what you've seen in the past or is that a different question?

Jim Haynes: We haven't asked the same question in the past. We asked this particular question and the way we did it because we were kind of interested in what the field organization did in California a couple of months ago and we asked it the same way. Results came out very similar. So, you know, I think it's interesting that it paints a different picture of the average Arizonian that most of the rest of the country has been getting the last few years.

Ted Simons: Last question, numbers for McCain, lowest in 21 years. However, that does not mean that he's in necessarily political trouble when it comes to re-election, correct?

Jim Haynes: That's exactly right. That's what I meant when I said it's not an indicator. At the end of the day, at the next election, there's going to be somebody else running against him and it's going to be senator John McCain or candidate a. So this poll in itself doesn't address that.

Ted Simons: If candidate a doesn't do it either, McCain could very well get your vote?

Jim Haynes: Most probably would get your vote because he's a known quantity.

Ted Simons: There you go.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here, thanks for joining us.

Jim Haynes: Always enjoy it

Jim Haynes:Behavior Research Center;

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