We’re not too far out from election season and while some Senators are sitting pretty, looking more popular than the cool kid in a 1980s coming-of-age movie, there are others that should feel the clock ticking.
According to a Morning Consult poll, the most popular senator in America is Wyoming Republican John Barrasso with a whopping 70 percent approval rating. Second and third place belongs to Hawaii Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono at 65 and 63 percent respectively. As you can see in the chart below, most of the list is made up of Republicans, including John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota.
Of course, America’s least popular senators may come as no surprise. Morning Consult reports that Mitch McConnell has an overwhelming disapproval rating of 61 percent. Between being hated by Democrats and generally being disliked by Republicans, McConnell’s standing as America’s least-liked senator isn’t shocking anyone.
On the left side of the aisle, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin sits in second as America’s most unpopular senator with a 55 percent disapproval rating. Third belongs to Maine Republican Susan Collins.
For the Independents, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema is more or less tied in terms of her popularity with 43 percent disapproving. Interestingly, 15 percent of respondents don’t seem to know if they do or don’t like her, more than any other senator on this particular list.
Latest poll shows America's least popular senators. Mitch McConnell sits at the top of the list. Manchin is the Democrat's least liked while Sinema is squeaking by as an Independent. pic.twitter.com/JgjrbY0Y0V— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) August 2, 2023
While this list gives us an idea as to where some senators are sitting in the goodwill of the people, it’s not going to predict anyone’s future with certainty. For instance, McConnell likely won’t find his career as the head of the GOP in danger anytime soon as the man holds so many purse strings that the GOP establishment would be too afraid to lose him, much less speak ill of him. Besides, he’s not up for reelection in 2024 anyway. The only thing that’s threatening his reign is his age and obvious mental deterioration, but as DC has proven, even the loss of cognitive function won’t stop a politician from obtaining office.
Despite the unpopularity of Cruz with a solid chunk of Texas voters, his supporters will come out of the woodwork to defend his seat, even against some of the most coordinated efforts to eject him by Democrats. Moreover, Cruz is solidifying his popularity by doing what every politician should be doing, and that’s utilizing the digital age to reach out and speak to the people. His new podcast is doing well, and even the media has taken notice of its effect. Still, anything can happen and patterns can be broken.
If anyone should be worried, it’s Sinema, who’s performed something of a balancing act and truly living up to her Independent label. While her approval and disapproval are more or less tied, neither party seems to be able to get to a point where they have any strong feelings about her, which could end up being the very thing that brings her down in the end. The constant ebbing and flowing of her popularity could be tiresome for voters and all it would take is a candidate that excites people a little bit to make her yesterday’s news. Still, Democrats are walking on eggshells around her. They want to stay on Sinema’s good side in order to keep her cooperative in order to make winning her over or various agenda items possible, even as they run a Democrat against her. It’s likely that the Democrat’s patience will run low as they feel pressure from voters and donors to make a more decisive move. Meanwhile, the GOP is just waiting for Kari Lake to announce before they go full-bore against Sinema. Either way, she’s surrounded and the dogs are hungry.
This brings us to Manchin. The West Virginia centrist (at times) hasn’t actually announced what his plans are as of this writing, but I sincerely doubt that this Morning Consult poll will be encouraging. Manchin has been a thorn in the side of Democrats, making him a massive complication that the left would rather not have. For a time, Republicans had a soft spot for him as he seemed like the more reasonable Democrat in the room, but all of that goodwill was thrown out the moment Manchin caved to support the Inflation Reduction Act, which was really a Democrat Party Christmas wishlist that empowered the IRS with billions and sank a ton of taxpayer cash into more climate nonsense.
At this point, Manchin is probably seeing a tough road ahead. Whether or not he’s going to sink time and effort into walking it is still in the air, but his chances don’t look good.