Special Report

US Senators Who Became Less Popular in the Last Year

T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images News via Getty Images

The last year on Capitol Hill has been defined largely by stalled legislation, party infighting, and partisan gridlock. And recent polling shows that many U.S. senators are paying the price. 

According to polling data collected by public opinion research company Morning Consult, one-third of the 100 sitting U.S. senators have seen their approval ratings dip by 2 or more percentage points in the last year, including four lawmakers whose approval ratings have dipped by over 6 percentage points. 

Using survey data from Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the U.S. senators who are losing popularity. Our list includes all 33 senators whose approval rating fell by 2 percentage points or more from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022.

From the botched military withdrawal from Afghanistan to soaring inflation and failed legislative initiatives, the past year has been a difficult one in American politics. And as Democratic Party controls both the legislative and executive branches, Democratic lawmakers appear more likely to be losing support. Just as President Joe Biden’s poll numbers have slumped, the majority of senators on this list are Democratic. Still, there is no shortage of Republican lawmakers on this list. 

It is important to note that though every senator on this list is less popular with their constituents now than they were a year ago, many still maintain a large support base. These lawmakers include Vermont Sens. Bernie Sanders (I) and Patrick Leahy (D), and Wyoming Sens. John Barrasso (R) and Cynthia Lummis (R). Here is a look at America’s most popular senators

Nine of the 33 senators on this list are up for reelection this year, though two of them, Senator Pat Leahy (D) of Vermont and Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama, are not seeking reelection. 

Click here to see the U.S. senators who are losing popularity
Click here to read our detailed methodology

Source: Win McNamee / Getty Images

33. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 48% approve; 34% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 50% approve; 32% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Rhode Island: 61.3% (22nd lowest)

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32. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 44% approve; 39% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 46% approve; 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Mississippi: 69.2% (7th highest)

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

31. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 43% approve; 40% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 45% approve; 40% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Louisiana: 59.4% (14th lowest)

30. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 44% approve; 35% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 46% approve; 34% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Minnesota: 74.3% (the highest)

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29. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 50% approve; 38% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 52% approve; 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Minnesota: 74.3% (the highest)

28. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 44% approve; 42% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 46% approve; 35% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Arizona: 64.7% (17th highest)

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

27. Senator Timothy Kaine of Virginia (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 46% approve; 37% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 48% approve; 35% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Virginia: 66.0% (14th highest)

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

26. Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 44% approve; 40% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 46% approve; 37% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Georgia: 60.9% (20th lowest)

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

25. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 42% approve; 37% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 44% approve; 37% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Michigan: 64.1% (20th highest)

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24. Senator John Cornyn of Texas (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -2 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 45% approve; 34% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 47% approve; 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Texas: 55.3% (3rd lowest)

23. Senator Michael Crapo of Idaho (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 46% approve; 39% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 49% approve; 33% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Idaho: 61.6% (23rd lowest)

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22. Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 51% approve; 30% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 54% approve; 28% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Delaware: 63.8% (22nd highest)

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

21. Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 44% approve; 38% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 47% approve; 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Nebraska: 62.2% (24th lowest)

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

20. Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 54% approve; 28% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 57% approve; 27% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Louisiana: 59.4% (14th lowest)

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19. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 45% approve; 34% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 48% approve; 34% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Oregon: 71.3% (5th highest)

Source: Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images

18. Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 48% approve; 38% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 51% approve; 34% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Connecticut: 60.5% (19th lowest)

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17. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 46% approve; 41% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 49% approve; 39% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Connecticut: 60.5% (19th lowest)

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

16. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 47% approve; 40% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 50% approve; 36% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Kentucky: 65.3% (15th highest)

Source: Astrid Riecken / Getty Images News via Getty Images

15. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 48% approve; 25% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 51% approve; 21% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Maryland: 68.7% (8th highest)

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Source: Samuel Corum / Getty Images News via Getty Images

14. Senator Todd Young of Indiana (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 43% approve; 32% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 46% approve; 30% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Indiana: 58.9% (13th lowest)

Source: Zach Gibson / Getty Images News via Getty Images

13. Senator Mike Braun of Indiana (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 44% approve; 34% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 47% approve; 32% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Indiana: 58.9% (13th lowest)

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Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

12. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 49% approve; 41% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 52% approve; 38% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Massachusetts: 58.9% (12th lowest)

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images News via Getty Images

11. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 50% approve; 29% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 53% approve; 26% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (Not seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Alabama: 59.6% (15th lowest)

Source: Photo by Samuel Corum / Getty Images

10. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -3 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 50% approve; 33% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 53% approve; 32% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Virginia: 66.0% (14th highest)

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Source: Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images News via Getty Images

9. Senator James Risch of Idaho (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -4 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 46% approve; 35% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 50% approve; 32% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Idaho: 61.6% (23rd lowest)

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News via Getty Images

8. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -4 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 50% approve; 38% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 54% approve; 35% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in New Hampshire: 72.4% (3rd highest)

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Source: T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images News via Getty Images

7. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -4 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 54% approve; 27% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 58% approve; 23% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Rhode Island: 61.3% (22nd lowest)

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images News via Getty Images

6. Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -4 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 50% approve; 24% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 54% approve; 20% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Maryland: 68.7% (8th highest)

Source: Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images News via Getty Images

5. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -5 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 58% approve; 29% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 63% approve; 25% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in North Dakota: 65.3% (16th highest)

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4. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -7 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 62% approve; 31% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 69% approve; 25% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Wyoming: 64.1% (21st highest)

3. Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming (R)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -8 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 60% approve; 32% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 68% approve; 23% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2027
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Wyoming: 64.1% (21st highest)

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Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images News via Getty Images

2. Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont (I)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -8 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 62% approve; 34% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 70% approve; 25% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2025
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Vermont: 67.5% (13th highest)

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images News via Getty Images

1. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont (D)
> 1-yr. change in approval rating: -14 pct. Points
> Q1 2022 popularity: 59% approve; 32% disapprove
> Q1 2021 popularity: 73% approve; 19% disapprove
> Current term ends: 2023 (Not seeking re-election)
> Nov. 2020 voter participation in Vermont: 67.5% (13th highest)

 

Methodology

To identify the U.S. senators who are losing popularity, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage point change in approval ratings for all 100 U.S. senators from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022 from Morning Consult, a public opinion data research company. Senators are ranked by the one-year change in the share of their constituency who approve of the job they are doing. In cases where two or more senators have the same change in approval 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 2021 and 2022. Approval ratings in this publication are rounded figures and may not exactly match those reported by Morning Consult.  

We also reviewed 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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