The 2022 election may be a critical turning point in recent American political history. Most experts believe the House of Representatives will have a Republican majority after the election. There is a reasonable chance they will control the Senate as well. That will make it harder for Present Biden to pass legislation over the balance of his first term.
No matter how the count of Senators and House members turns out nationally, these elections remain local, and popularly continue to be a major, if the determining factor, of final results.
While public sentiment towards Capitol Hill is overwhelmingly negative, Americans tend to judge their own senators with a greater degree of leniency. According to a 2022 survey conducted by public opinion research company Morning Consult, the vast majority of U.S. senators have a net-positive favorability rating. Still, for many, including several who are running for reelection this year, the margins are slim.
Using polling data from Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most popular U.S. senator. Senators are ranked by their approval rating, and in the case of a tie, the senator with a lower disapproval rating ranks higher. Among the 50 most popular senators, approval ratings range from 48% to 62% – including 29 who have a favorable rating above 50%.
Among the 50 most popular Senators, 24 are Democratic, 24 are Republican and two are Independent.
Public approval of senators is subject to a wide range of factors, including policy positions, their state’s economic health, and even their personality. While earning the approval of their constituents is the most effective way for senators to remain in office, in areas where voter turnout is low, controversial and even unpopular lawmakers can still win elections.
The most popular Senator in America is Sen. John Thune (R) of South Dakota. Here are the details:
> Popularity: 62% approve, 28% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in South Dakota: 57.7% (9th lowest)
> 2021 state unemployment: 3.1%
Methodology: To identify America’s most popular senator, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed approval and disapproval ratings for all 100 U.S. senators from Morning Consult, a public opinion data research company. Senators are ranked by their approval rating and ties were broken by disapproval rating. In cases where two or more senators have the same approval and disapproval rating, the senator from the state where polls were taken from a larger sample size of registered voters ranks higher.
All polling data was collected among registered voters in the state represented by the senator in question in the first quarter of 2022.
We also reviewed the unemployment rate by state from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the share of voters who participated on election day in 2020 from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.
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