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McCain trails with conservatives, commanding lead with moderates in GOP primary race

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Election 2010: Senate

McCain trails with conservatives, commanding lead with moderates in GOP primary race

Hayworth's favorability with moderates 'putrid'

Sen. John McCain trails among conservatives voters, but his lead with moderates may still carry him to a primary victory over former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, according to survey.

Overall, McCain is favored by 46 percent of Republican primary voters, with Hayworth getting the nod from 35 percent, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday. Jim Deakin trails with 7 percent.

Hayworth leads McCain 46-38 percent among the conservative voters who make up two-thirds of GOP primary voters. But McCain holds a commanding 60-15 lead with the party's moderates, more than making up for Hayworth's slice of the electorate.

Said PPP:

Both candidates are viewed unfavorably by more GOP primary voters than favorably.

For all that McCain still has to be seen as the favorite in the race. 40% of GOP primary voters have an unfavorable opinion of Hayworth to 37% with a favorable one. With moderates in the party his favorability is a putrid 13/59 spread, which explains why he trailed Rodney Glassman in our general election polling yesterday. Voters beyond the far right just don't find him very palatable.

It’s clear that some of McCain’s past issue stances are creating suspicion about him among conservative voters. 53% of those likely to vote in the primary say that McCain’s position on immigration is too lenient. And a 43% plurality think that McCain is overall too liberal compared to 38% who think he’s ‘about right.’

"John McCain’s clearly in a weak position with Republican voters," said Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling in a media release. "The good news for him is that J.D. Hayworth comes into the race with a whole lot of baggage. That should really help McCain’s prospects for renomination."

PPP also took an early look at the state's 2012 Republican presidential primary:

Mitt Romney is the early favorite in the state with 27%. Newt Gingrich comes next at 19%, followed by Sarah Palin at 13%, Mike Huckabee at 12%, and Ron Paul at 9%. Romney has a wide lead among moderates but just a small one with conservatives.

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