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Poll: Sen. John McCain among best-liked politicians of his time

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Flowers and photos are part of the tributes to Sen. John McCain outside his office in Phoenix on Sunday. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI

By Sommer Brokaw, UPI

Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at age 81 of brain cancer, enjoyed bipartisan support like few other politicians of his era, a new Gallup Poll shows.

"The late U.S. Sen. John McCain was one of the best-known and best-liked U.S. politicians of this political era," Gallup Poll analyst Andrew Dugan said in a Gallup Poll blog. "Despite McCain's failed bids for the presidency, there is little doubt that, over the long arc of his public career, most Americans viewed the Arizona Republican favorably -- not to mention that more than a few Americans cited McCain as the man they most admire over these years. Few politicians in this day and age can boast such a resoundingly positive verdict from the people."

The poll, released Sunday, tracked Americans' views of McCain periodically for nearly two decades.

McCain, who ran for president twice, losing the Republican primary to George W. Bush in 2000 and the general election to Barack Obama in 2008, was often popular among Democrats and Republicans in his political career of more than 30 years.

Early on, in 2001, Republicans viewed him more favorably, by 66 percent to 61 percent of Democrats.

McCain's ratings dropped to 48 percent in February 2007 after he supported the Bush administration's "surge" in the Iraq War. It was the first time less than a majority of Americans had favorable view of McCain since 1999, Dugan said. The senator's support dropped mostly among Democrats to 41 percent, from 56 percent seven months earlier. However, with the launch of his 2008 presidential campaign and securing the nomination, his favorable rating jumped to 67 percent, its highest level ever.

The surge was mostly with Republicans, giving the Arizona senator a 90 percent favorable rating and Democrats giving him a 49 percent favorable rating. However, nine years later, the so-called maverick's majority favorable support among parties would flip to more majority support among Democrats than Republicans.

McCain's favorable ratings were above 50 percent by Democrats and Republicans alike in August 2017, when he voted against a Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a vote that led to the bill's failure, delivering a major policy defeat to the Trump administration.

Democrats' sentiment toward McCain surged to 71 percent after that vote, climbing 22 points from 49 percent beforehand. McCain's favorable rating with Republicans dropped from 61 percent to 51 percent.

The senator's overall favorable rating rose to 58 percent, a five-point increase from a rating in 2015. The rating was also four points higher than McCain's average favorable rating between 1999 and 2017.

McCain also ranked fifth on a December 2017 list of men Americans say they most admire.

More than 1,000 adults were included in the survey, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Poll: Sen. John McCain among best-liked politicians of his time
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