On July 19, 2017 it was announced that Sen. John McCain (R), 80, was diagnosed with brain cancer. His specific diagnosis was a primary glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor with a median survival time of 15-16 months. While the tumor was removed during an operation, this type of cancer commonly returns.
Delphi Analytica asked what the people of Arizona thought Senator McCain should do in light of his devastating diagnosis. Our poll was conducted via internet of 667 Arizona residents from July 21–23. 12% thought Senator McCain should not retire at this time. 19% thought that it was too soon after his diagnosis to consider this question. Shockingly, however 35% thought Senator McCain, who has served in the United States Senate continuously since 1987 and who just won reelection 8 months ago, should retire.
Dr. Kelli Ward, who challenged Senator McCain in the Republican primary in 2016, took to the radio on July 20th to call Senator McCain to step down. She stated, “I hope Senator McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible, so that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward.” Later that day her website, kelliward.com, she posted “The medical reality of his diagnosis is grim. Senator McCain has an aggressive brain cancer that is both devastating and debilitating. When the time comes that Senator McCain can no longer perform his duties in the Senate at full capacity, he owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside.” Many criticized Dr. Ward for calling for Senator McCain’s exit so quickly after his publicly disclosed diagnosis. Since Arizona is one of five states that requires not only a governor appointment of a replacement senator should a vacancy occur, but that that vacancy be filled with a person of the same political party of the exiting Senator, Ms. Ward would be a probable candidate to take Senator McCain’s seat until the next general election.
Complete data and crosstabs can be accessed here.
Update: On July 25th, 2017, the Senator appeared on Capitol Hill to cast his vote on the Republican’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.