'The Mac is back': McCain enjoys poll surge

The billboards strategically planted by staffers at John McCain events these days may have a whiff of wishful thinking.

"The Mac is Back!" they declare. It's a good strategy, with first voting in the presidential derby around the corner they are trying to create the perception of fresh momentum.

Now, however, the first evidence that all the talk and there has been much of late of a McCain resurgence in the Republican nomination race may be true. The New Hampshire primaries are especially critical for him and suddenly, it seems, he may be in a position to win in the state.

A new poll, by the American Research Group, finds 71-year-old Mr McCain and Mitt Romney, the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts, tied in the lead with 26 per cent each. That is a remarkable 11-point surge for Mr McCain from the last poll in November.

Other surveys point to a similar comeback by the former Vietnam prisoner of war and Arizona senator. A USA Today/Gallup poll published yesterday showed him climbing to 27 per cent, with his Massachusetts rival not very far ahead with 34 per cent.

When the Republican field first came into view a year ago, the wisdom was that the nomination was Mr McCain's to lose. By this summer, however, his campaign seemed in tatters. His sudden resurrection now is just one more indicator of how wide open the Republican competition is.

In recent days, he has been helped in particular by a string of high profile endorsements, including by leading newspapers in both New Hampshire and Iowa, as well as by the Boston Globe. Earlier this week, Senator Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-leaning independent and former vice-presidential candidate, stood by Mr McCain's side on the campaign trail. His endorsement may be important in New Hampshire, especially where both parties allow independents to vote in their primary races. Because expectations surrounding Mr McCain have languished for so long, even a runner-up result in New Hampshire could prove a crucial boost.

For months, it seemed that Mr McCain's staunch support for George Bush's Iraq surge was poisoning his appeal to voters. However, as news from Iraq has become relatively less distressing, voter focus on the war has ebbed. Among Republican hopefuls, Mr McCain has stood alone, meanwhile, in clearly condemning water-boarding.

He has also cemented his reputation for sticking to his positions, which include reforming welfare payments, cutting taxes and fiscal discipline. By contrast, the reputation for flip-flopping and sticking fingers in the wind has increasingly stuck to Mr Romney. While Mr Romney is on the extreme edge on fighting immigration, Mr McCain consistently backs Mr Bush's call for a conditional amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the US.

"I am confident that we can carry and will carry New Hampshire," Mr McCain said this week. "We'll get a tremendous bounce out of that."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Inside Sales - OTE to £45,000

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a leading supplier of bu...

Recruitment Genius: Installation Engineer - Driveway

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative, fast growing f...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Project Manager - Technical

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking for a Jun...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral