America’s Most and Least Popular Senators

The latest edition of Morning Consult’s Senator Approval Rankings is available here.

If Americans were feeling optimistic about their senators at the dawn of the new era of a Republican-controlled federal government, many are souring on those elected officials as the 115th Congress rolls on, according to Morning Consult’s new Senator Approval Rankings.

More than half of all senators saw negative swings in net approval outside of the surveys’ margins of error in their respective states. By comparison, over 20 senators saw their net approval rating decrease in the first quarter of the year from the 2016 pre-election rankings.

The rankings are based on more than 140,000 interviews with registered voters nationwide conducted from April 1 through June 18. Full methodology is available here.

  • Approve
  • Don't Know/Undecided
  • Disapprove

Some of the biggest drops in net approval came in unexpected places, with Republican senators in reliably red states and Democrats in safely blue ones seeing large drops.

In Oklahoma, GOP Sens. James Lankford and Jim Inhofe saw their net approval ratings slide 7 points and 11 points, respectively, since the first quarter. Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake also saw negative swings — McCain by 12 points, Flake by 14 points — and Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman of Arkansas saw 9-point and 8-point dips, respectively.

Plus: Only One Senator Up for Re-Election in 2018 Has Underwater Approval Rating

On the Democratic side of the ledger, it’s Rhode Island voters who were most likely to appear embittered. Sen. Jack Reed saw his net approval rating drop 20 points, as did Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Roughly three in five Ocean State voters had previously approved of both senators, but for Whitehouse the share expressing approval slid below 50 percent in the new rankings. It was a similar story in Delaware, where the share of voters approving of Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper dropped from 58 percent and 65 percent to 52 percent and 58 percent, respectively, while their disapproval ratings rose.

Three senators — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Flake & McCain — were viewed negatively by a plurality of voters in their states. McConnell, consistently America’s least popular senator in the Morning Consult rankings, saw his net rating drop 4 points: Forty-one percent of Bluegrass State voters approve of him, while 48 percent do not. And Flake, who is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election, has the approval of 37 percent of Arizonans, compared with 45 percent who disapprove of his job performance.

While many senators saw net drops in approval, some managed to burnish their images in the eyes of their constituents. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) saw the biggest jump (11 points), followed by North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven (7 points) and Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana (8 points), who’s considered a top GOP target ahead of the 2018 midterms. GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Richard Burr of North Carolina each gained 4 points.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) remained the most popular senator in the country, with 75 percent of Vermonters approving of his job performance and 21 percent disapproving.

Sen. Luther Strange, who replaced fellow Alabama Republican and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year, is the only new addition to the list. Strange, who is working to fend off GOP challengers leading up to an Aug. 15 special election primary, has the approval of 44 percent of Yellowhammer State voters, compared with 30 percent who disapprove of him and 26 percent who didn’t know or had no opinion.

StateSenatorApproveDisapproveDon't Know/No OpinionMOE
AlabamaLuther Strange44%30%26%2%
AlabamaRichard Shelby53%29%18%2%
AlaskaLisa Murkowski55%37%9%6%
AlaskaDan Sullivan51%35%14%6%
ArizonaJohn McCain43%47%9%2%
ArizonaJeff Flake37%45%18%2%
ArkansasTom Cotton51%32%17%3%
ArkansasJohn Boozman49%28%23%3%
CaliforniaDianne Feinstein51%33%15%1%
CaliforniaKamala Harris51%24%25%1%
ColoradoCory Gardner48%29%23%2%
ColoradoMichael Bennet49%28%23%2%
ConnecticutRichard Blumenthal56%34%10%3%
ConnecticutChristopher Murphy53%33%14%3%
DelawareChris Coons52%31%17%4%
DelawareThomas Carper58%26%16%4%
FloridaMarco Rubio49%37%13%1%
FloridaBill Nelson53%25%22%1%
GeorgiaDavid Perdue53%26%20%1%
GeorgiaJohn Isakson51%26%23%1%
HawaiiMazie Hirono67%23%11%5%
HawaiiBrian Schatz69%21%10%5%
IdahoMichael Crapo58%29%14%4%
IdahoJames Risch53%25%23%4%
IllinoisRichard Durbin45%36%18%1%
IllinoisTammy Duckworth48%30%21%1%
IndianaTodd Young48%28%24%2%
IndianaJoe Donnelly53%25%23%2%
IowaCharles Grassley52%35%13%3%
IowaJoni Ernst47%35%18%3%
KansasPat Roberts43%35%23%3%
KansasJerry Moran45%30%24%3%
KentuckyMitch McConnell41%48%10%2%
KentuckyRand Paul50%38%13%2%
LouisianaBill Cassidy51%27%23%2%
LouisianaJohn Kennedy54%24%23%2%
MaineSusan Collins65%26%9%4%
MaineAngus King62%25%12%4%
MarylandChris Van Hollen51%23%26%2%
MarylandBenjamin Cardin53%21%25%2%
MassachusettsElizabeth Warren57%35%9%2%
MassachusettsEdward Markey55%22%24%2%
MichiganDebbie Stabenow45%37%18%1%
MichiganGary Peters38%29%33%1%
MinnesotaAlan Franken56%33%11%2%
MinnesotaAmy Klobuchar59%28%13%2%
MississippiThad Cochran53%28%19%3%
MississippiRoger Wicker51%24%24%3%
MissouriClaire McCaskill46%38%15%2%
MissouriRoy Blunt46%37%17%2%
MontanaJon Tester50%39%11%5%
MontanaSteve Daines53%30%17%5%
NebraskaDeb Fischer49%33%18%3%
NebraskaBenjamin Sasse52%28%21%3%
NevadaCatherine Cortez Masto44%33%23%3%
NevadaDean Heller41%33%26%3%
New HampshireMaggie Hassan52%33%15%4%
New HampshireJeanne Shaheen54%31%15%4%
New JerseyRobert Menendez39%38%23%2%
New JerseyCory Booker50%32%18%2%
New MexicoMartin Heinrich48%30%22%4%
New MexicoTom Udall53%27%20%4%
New YorkCharles Schumer59%29%12%1%
New YorkKirsten Gillibrand53%23%23%1%
North CarolinaRichard Burr45%32%22%1%
North CarolinaThom Tillis41%31%28%1%
North DakotaHeidi Heitkamp60%28%12%6%
North DakotaJohn Hoeven66%17%17%6%
OhioSherrod Brown50%29%22%1%
OhioRobert Portman50%28%23%1%
OklahomaJames Inhofe50%31%19%2%
OklahomaJames Lankford52%26%21%2%
OregonRon Wyden61%24%16%2%
OregonJeff Merkley57%24%19%2%
PennsylvaniaPatrick Toomey45%36%19%1%
PennsylvaniaRobert Casey46%31%22%1%
Rhode IslandSheldon Whitehouse46%35%18%5%
Rhode IslandJohn Reed51%29%21%5%
South CarolinaLindsey Graham48%38%14%2%
South CarolinaTim Scott59%20%21%2%
South DakotaMike Rounds62%29%10%5%
South DakotaJohn Thune64%26%10%5%
TennesseeBob Corker52%29%18%2%
TennesseeLamar Alexander52%29%18%2%
TexasTed Cruz55%32%14%1%
TexasJohn Cornyn49%25%26%1%
UtahOrrin Hatch52%38%10%3%
UtahMike Lee54%29%17%3%
VermontPatrick Leahy66%25%9%7%
VermontBernard Sanders75%21%4%7%
VirginiaTimothy Kaine51%35%14%2%
VirginiaMark Warner58%28%14%2%
WashingtonPatty Murray56%30%14%2%
WashingtonMaria Cantwell54%28%19%2%
West VirginiaJoe Manchin57%31%12%3%
West VirginiaShelley Capito56%26%17%3%
WisconsinTammy Baldwin42%38%19%2%
WisconsinRon Johnson43%37%19%2%
WyomingJohn Barrasso56%18%25%7%
WyomingMichael Enzi57%17%26%7%
Morning Consult