Mitch McConnell — Still America’s Least Popular Senator

Of the 100 members of the Senate, there is only one who is underwater in the eyes of his constituents, according to the new Morning Consult Senator Approval Rankings. And it happens to be chamber’s most powerful member: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

More than 85,000 registered voters across America evaluated the job performance of their senators from from January 2017 through March 2017 to determine the latest rankings (Full Methodology).

Forty-four percent of Kentucky voters say they approve of the 30-year Senate veteran, while 47 percent disapprove, making him the only senator with a net negative approval rating. It’s not all bad news for McConnell, though: He’s trending in the right direction when you consider what voters from the Bluegrass State thought of him ahead of the 2016 elections. In September, more than half (51 percent) said they disapproved of McConnell, compared with 39 percent who approved of his performance.

Related: Most Freshman Senators Are Less Popular Than Their Predecessors

McConnell has consistently been the least popular senator in the Morning Consult rankings, but he’s closer than ever to breaking even. At the other end of the spectrum is the fiery Vermont independent, Bernie Sanders, who retains his place atop the list as the country’s most popular senator.

Three-quarters (75 percent) of Vermonters approve of the liberal firebrand who finished as runner-up to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, compared with 21 percent who disapprove. However, Sanders’ elevation to national prominence does appear to have compromised his standing among some of his constituents. His approval was down 12 points (from 87 percent) compared with his numbers in September, while his disapproval was up 9 points (from 12 percent).

The national limelight also brought a small decline to another member of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who served as Clinton’s running mate, saw his disapproval rise 10 points, from 26 percent to 36 percent, although 50 percent of Virginians still approve of his job performance.

Senate Republicans had a challenging map to defend in 2016, and proof of the party’s performance, which exceeded expectations, can be found in the approval rankings of several members.

The best example is Sen. Rob Portman, who was originally pegged as one of the most vulnerable members of the cycle. The Ohio Republican now has the approval of 53 percent of his constituents, compared with 40 percent in September. His negatives have also dropped 4 points, from 31 percent to 27 percent.

Other Republican incumbents who faced a barrage of negative ads in 2016 also seem to have recovered in terms of perception.

-Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s net rating rose by 10 points.

-Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s net rating rose by 5 points.

-Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey ‘s net rating rose by 3 points.

-Arizona Sen. John McCain’s net rating rose by 2 points.

Two Republicans, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (by 5 points) and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (by 2 points), saw minor dips.

Read more: Where Trump’s Possible 2020 Challengers Stand With Voters at Home

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska saw the biggest drop among incumbents who ran in 2016, as well as the biggest drop overall: Her net approval dropped 26 points, although more than half (53 percent) of Alaskans still approve of her job performance, compared with 40 percent who do not.

Senate delegations from smaller states tended to be more popular among their voters, with Wyoming and Vermont leading the way in terms of net approval. North Carolina, a perennial presidential battleground state, has the least popular delegation.

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange (R) is not included in the list because he recently replaced Jeff Sessions, who now serves as attorney general.

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StateSenatorApproveDisapproveDK/NOMOEParty
VermontBernard Sanders75%21%4%6%Independent
VermontPatrick Leahy70%22%7%6%Democrat
WyomingJohn Barrasso69%17%14%7%Republican
WyomingMichael Enzi68%18%14%7%Republican
MaineAngus King67%23%10%4%Independent
MaineSusan Collins67%27%6%4%Republican
South DakotaJohn Thune66%27%7%5%Republican
HawaiiBrian Schatz65%16%19%5%Democrat
DelawareThomas Carper65%22%14%4%Democrat
OregonRon Wyden65%22%13%2%Democrat
North DakotaJohn Hoeven65%23%11%5%Republican
Rhode IslandJack Reed63%21%17%5%Democrat
MinnesotaAmy Klobuchar63%26%11%2%Democrat
New YorkCharles Schumer63%27%10%1%Democrat
AlabamaRichard Shelby61%26%13%2%Republican
South DakotaMike Rounds61%28%11%5%Republican
North DakotaHeidi Heitkamp60%32%8%5%Democrat
South CarolinaTim Scott59%19%22%2%Republican
OregonJeff Merkley59%23%18%2%Democrat
West VirginiaShelley Capito59%26%15%3%Republican
VirginiaMark Warner59%27%14%2%Democrat
Rhode IslandSheldon Whitehouse59%28%13%5%Democrat
WashingtonPatty Murray59%29%11%2%Democrat
MinnesotaAlan Franken59%33%9%2%Democrat
DelawareChris Coons58%26%15%4%Democrat
IdahoMichael Crapo58%29%13%4%Republican
ArkansasTom Cotton58%30%12%3%Republican
ConnecticutRichard Blumenthal58%33%9%3%Democrat
OklahomaJames Lankford57%24%19%3%Republican
HawaiiMazie Hirono57%24%18%5%Democrat
TennesseeBob Corker57%26%17%2%Republican
MississippiThad Cochran57%28%16%3%Republican
OklahomaJames Inhofe57%27%16%3%Republican
New HampshireJeanne Shaheen57%30%13%4%Democrat
MontanaJon Tester57%32%11%5%Democrat
TexasTed Cruz57%31%11%1%Republican
West VirginiaJoe Manchin57%33%10%3%Democrat
GeorgiaJohn Isakson56%23%22%2%Republican
New YorkKirsten Gillibrand56%22%22%1%Democrat
WashingtonMaria Cantwell56%27%17%2%Democrat
UtahMike Lee56%27%17%3%Republican
NebraskaDeb Fischer56%31%13%4%Republican
IowaCharles Grassley56%35%9%3%Republican
MassachusettsElizabeth Warren56%38%7%2%Democrat
LouisianaJohn Kennedy55%20%26%3%Republican
GeorgiaDavid Perdue55%24%22%2%Republican
MassachusettsEdward Markey55%23%22%2%Democrat
ArkansasJohn Boozman55%26%19%3%Republican
NebraskaBenjamin Sasse55%26%19%4%Republican
MontanaSteve Daines55%28%17%5%Republican
TennesseeLamar Alexander55%29%16%2%Republican
ConnecticutChristopher Murphy55%33%13%3%Democrat
MarylandBenjamin Cardin54%21%25%2%Democrat
ColoradoMichael Bennet54%26%20%2%Democrat
AlaskaDan Sullivan54%34%12%6%Republican
FloridaBill Nelson53%26%21%1%Democrat
OhioRobert Portman53%27%20%1%Republican
New HampshireMaggie Hassan53%31%16%4%Democrat
New MexicoTom Udall53%31%16%4%Democrat
CaliforniaDianne Feinstein53%33%14%1%Democrat
KentuckyRand Paul53%35%12%2%Republican
UtahOrrin Hatch53%36%11%3%Republican
AlaskaLisa Murkowski53%40%7%6%Republican
MarylandChris Van Hollen52%20%28%2%Democrat
CaliforniaKamala Harris52%23%25%1%Democrat
MississippiRoger Wicker52%25%23%3%Republican
IllinoisTammy Duckworth52%27%21%1%Democrat
OhioSherrod Brown52%30%18%1%Democrat
FloridaMarco Rubio52%38%10%1%Republican
IdahoJames Risch51%23%26%4%Republican
KansasJerry Moran51%29%20%3%Republican
ArizonaJohn McCain51%43%6%2%Republican
LouisianaBill Cassidy50%27%23%3%Republican
New JerseyCory Booker50%32%17%2%Democrat
IllinoisRichard Durbin50%34%16%1%Democrat
VirginiaTimothy Kaine50%36%14%2%Democrat
TexasJohn Cornyn49%23%28%1%Republican
PennsylvaniaRobert Casey49%29%22%1%Democrat
ColoradoCory Gardner49%30%21%2%Republican
IndianaTodd Young48%25%27%2%Republican
New MexicoMartin Heinrich48%31%21%4%Democrat
WisconsinRon Johnson48%37%16%2%Republican
KansasPat Roberts47%35%17%3%Republican
MichiganDebbie Stabenow47%38%16%1%Democrat
IowaJoni Ernst47%37%16%3%Republican
MissouriClaire McCaskill47%39%15%2%Democrat
MissouriRoy Blunt47%38%15%2%Republican
PennsylvaniaPatrick Toomey47%38%15%1%Republican
IndianaJoe Donnelly46%26%28%2%Democrat
South CarolinaLindsey Graham46%40%14%2%Republican
North CarolinaRichard Burr44%35%21%2%Republican
WisconsinTammy Baldwin44%38%19%2%Democrat
ArizonaJeff Flake44%38%17%2%Republican
KentuckyMitch McConnell44%47%9%2%Republican
NevadaDean Heller43%32%26%3%Republican
NevadaCatherine Cortez Masto42%37%21%3%Democrat
New JerseyRobert Menendez40%36%24%2%Democrat
MichiganGary Peters39%27%34%1%Democrat
North CarolinaThom Tillis39%30%30%2%Republican

Briefings

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