Society

Poll: McConnell Is America's Least Popular Senator

| by Lauren Briggs

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the most disliked senator in America, according to a new poll.

McConnell, the most powerful person in the Senate, was the only senator to receive a net negative approval rating in the Morning Consult survey taken between January and March, with 44 percent of Kentucky voters saying they approve of their Republican senator and 47 saying they do not.

The most popular senator? Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who has 75 percent approval from his constituents and 21 percent disapproval, a drop from the same 2016 poll which found him to have 87 percent approval and nine percent disapproval.

Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Republican Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming and Independent Angus King of Maine followed, rounding out the top five, respectively, with between 67 and 70 percent approval and between 17 and 23 percent disapproval.

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McConnell's rankings were revealed after he successfully led the effort to have the Senate vote on April 6 to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee, Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court by blasting through a Democratic filibuster using what is known as the "nuclear option," reducing the number of votes needed to a lower majority, according to The Huffington Post.

"We need to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster,” McConnell said before setting the procedure in order.

In an April 7 op-ed in The Washington Post, McConnell wrote that "Democrats were determined to deny [the nominee] a vote" due to his party affiliations, regardless of Gorsuch's qualifications.

"It was a direct attack on the traditions of the Senate and yet another extreme escalation in Democrats' decades-long drive to transform judicial confirmations from constructive debates over qualifications into raw ideological struggles," McConnell added.

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Morning Consult has long ranked McConnell as the most unpopular senator, but his numbers improved since September 2016, when 51 percent of Kentucky voters voiced their disapproval of him, compared to 39 who expressed support.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia saw some of the most dramatic changes in their ratings since September, albeit on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Portman's approval numbers surged from 40 percent in late 2016 to 53 percent in early 2017, with his negatives improving from 31 percent in September to 27 percent. Kaine saw the opposite phenomenon since unsuccessfully running for vice president, with his disapproval rising 10 points from 26 percent to 36 percent, although he remains liked by 50 percent of his constituents.

Sources: Morning Consult, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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