How Voters Feel About Their Senators Ahead of Election Day (September 2016)

In the latest edition of Morning Consult's Senator Approval Rankings, Bernie Sanders is more popular than ever among Vermonters. The progressive independent who gave Hillary Clinton a major headache in the presidential primary has an 87 percent approval rating in his home state. That’s a sizable jump from his already high 80 percent approval rating in April, when Morning Consult compiled favorability ratings collected throughout the beginning of the year.

Based on interviews with almost 72,000 registered voters since May, Morning Consult crunched how constituents feel about their home-state senators (see more on methodology here). Sanders maintains his spot at the top of the list for most popular senator, a distinction that appears long lasting. He was at 83 percent approval last year, and no other senator had a higher rating.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) retains the distinction of the least popular senator among his home-state constituents, with a disapproval rating of 51 percent. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has soured with Silver State voters and is now the third-least popular senator, with a 43 percent disapproval rating. That's up two spots from earlier this year.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) retains her slot as second-most popular senator, but her favorability in Maine (69 percent) has dropped 10 percentage points from the first few months of the year, before she declined to endorse Donald Trump for president.

Florida Republican Marco Rubio’s favorability has barely changed (from 45 percent to 46 percent) since the incumbent senator changed his mind about not running for re-election and cruised to victory in the primary after most of his opponents dropped out.

Related: Two Vulnerable GOP Senators’ Approval Ratings Drop

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has tiptoed around Trump in his own bid for re-election, has slipped in approval from 44 percent to 40 percent, while his disapproval ratings have climbed from 24 percent to 31 percent. Perhaps most disturbing for Portman is his name recognition (or lack thereof). Portman ranks 7th on the list of unknown senators, with 29 percent of Ohio voters saying they don’t know or have no opinion about him.

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, another embattled GOP senator, has also seen a major jump in disapproval ratings, from 27 percent to 36 percent.

The most vulnerable Republican up for re-election, Mark Kirk of Illinois, now has more of his constituents disapproving of him (38 percent) than approving of him (35 percent). Earlier this year, the approval ratings were flipped, with 39 percent approving of the Illinois senator and 33 percent saying they disapprove of him.

Related: ‘Never Trump’ Senators Lose Approval Among Voters

Democratic Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan and Joe Donnelly of Indiana claim the top unknown spots. Peters, a freshman in the chamber, is the sole senator to have more of his constituents express no opinion about him (38 percent) than say they approve of him (35 percent) or disapprove of him (27 percent).


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StateSenatorApproveDisapproveDon’t Know / No OpinionMOE
AlabamaRichard Shelby55%28%17%3%
AlabamaJefferson Sessions54%26%21%3%
AlaskaDan Sullivan61%26%12%8%
AlaskaLisa Murkowski65%26%9%8%
ArizonaJohn McCain48%42%9%2%
ArizonaJeff Flake41%35%23%2%
ArkansasTom Cotton50%32%17%4%
ArkansasJohn Boozman49%22%29%4%
CaliforniaBarbara Boxer52%33%15%1%
CaliforniaDianne Feinstein52%32%16%1%
ColoradoMichael Bennet50%27%23%3%
ColoradoCory Gardner49%26%25%3%
ConnecticutRichard Blumenthal60%30%10%3%
ConnecticutChristopher Murphy55%29%16%3%
DelawareChris Coons58%20%21%6%
DelawareThomas Carper66%18%16%6%
FloridaMarco Rubio46%41%13%1%
FloridaBill Nelson52%24%25%1%
GeorgiaDavid Perdue49%26%25%2%
GeorgiaJohn Isakson50%25%25%2%
HawaiiMazie Hirono59%21%20%7%
HawaiiBrian Schatz64%13%23%7%
IdahoJames Risch43%30%28%5%
IdahoMichael Crapo49%28%23%5%
IllinoisMark Kirk35%38%27%2%
IllinoisRichard Durbin41%38%21%2%
IndianaJoe Donnelly43%25%32%2%
IndianaDaniel Coats45%25%31%2%
IowaJoni Ernst47%34%19%3%
IowaCharles Grassley54%32%14%3%
KansasPat Roberts40%43%17%4%
KansasJerry Moran41%35%24%4%
KentuckyMitch McConnell39%51%10%3%
KentuckyRand Paul48%35%17%3%
LouisianaDavid Vitter42%39%20%3%
LouisianaBill Cassidy44%27%29%3%
MaineAngus King63%26%11%5%
MaineSusan Collins69%21%11%5%
MarylandBarbara Mikulski61%20%19%3%
MarylandBenjamin Cardin56%18%26%3%
MassachusettsElizabeth Warren57%33%10%3%
MassachusettsEdward Markey52%20%28%3%
MichiganDebbie Stabenow48%34%18%2%
MichiganGary Peters35%27%38%2%
MinnesotaAlan Franken60%30%10%3%
MinnesotaAmy Klobuchar63%24%13%3%
MississippiRoger Wicker50%28%21%4%
MississippiThad Cochran57%26%16%4%
MissouriClaire McCaskill46%38%16%2%
MissouriRoy Blunt46%32%22%2%
MontanaJon Tester61%27%13%6%
MontanaSteve Daines54%23%24%6%
NebraskaBenjamin Sasse44%31%25%5%
NebraskaDeb Fischer52%25%23%5%
NevadaHarry Reid44%43%13%4%
NevadaDean Heller43%28%29%4%
New HampshireJeanne Shaheen48%37%14%5%
New HampshireKelly Ayotte58%32%10%5%
New JerseyRobert Menendez39%33%28%2%
New JerseyCory Booker51%25%24%2%
New MexicoMartin Heinrich46%29%24%5%
New MexicoTom Udall54%27%19%5%
New YorkCharles Schumer64%23%13%1%
New YorkKirsten Gillibrand55%19%26%1%
North CarolinaRichard Burr41%33%26%2%
North CarolinaThom Tillis39%32%29%2%
North DakotaHeidi Heitkamp57%32%12%7%
North DakotaJohn Hoeven63%19%18%7%
OhioRobert Portman40%31%29%2%
OhioSherrod Brown49%29%22%2%
OklahomaJames Inhofe50%29%21%3%
OklahomaJames Lankford48%24%28%3%
OregonJeff Merkley59%20%21%3%
OregonRon Wyden61%20%19%3%
PennsylvaniaPatrick Toomey43%36%21%2%
PennsylvaniaRobert Casey47%27%25%2%
Rhode IslandSheldon Whitehouse52%29%19%6%
Rhode IslandJohn Reed63%20%17%6%
South CarolinaLindsey Graham45%40%16%3%
South CarolinaTim Scott52%20%28%3%
South DakotaMike Rounds62%21%17%7%
South DakotaJohn Thune68%17%15%7%
TennesseeLamar Alexander51%30%19%2%
TennesseeBob Corker51%29%21%2%
TexasTed Cruz52%35%13%1%
TexasJohn Cornyn46%22%32%1%
UtahOrrin Hatch54%35%11%4%
UtahMike Lee53%28%19%4%
VermontPatrick Leahy66%24%10%8%
VermontBernard Sanders87%12%1%8%
VirginiaTimothy Kaine54%26%19%2%
VirginiaMark Warner61%22%18%2%
WashingtonPatty Murray57%28%14%3%
WashingtonMaria Cantwell55%26%19%3%
West VirginiaJoe Manchin54%38%7%4%
West VirginiaShelley Capito55%32%13%4%
WisconsinTammy Baldwin42%36%21%3%
WisconsinRon Johnson45%33%22%3%
WyomingJohn Barrasso50%26%24%9%
WyomingMichael Enzi46%24%30%9%
Correction Due to a calculation error, a previous version of the Least Popular Senators list misstated the order of the 8th, 9th and 10th senators listed.


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