The U.S. Senate is the most powerful lawmaking body in the United States, and in recent years, it has become one of the most dysfunctional and least trusted institutions in American government. Decades of growing partisanship in the Senate chamber have made compromise a dirty word – and legislative gridlock the status quo – on Capitol Hill. Partially as a result, only 39% of adults have at least some trust in the U.S. Congress, down from 48% in early 2021, according to polling data from public opinion research company Morning Consult.
Just as the reputation of the Senate body has suffered in recent years, individual senators have also paid a price. Earning and maintaining public confidence is critical for any elected official who wants to keep their job. However, of the 92 sitting U.S. senators who held office in mid-2021, 40 have seen their approval rating dip over the last two years. (These are the most partisan issues in American politics, ranked.)
Using survey data from Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the U.S. senators who are losing popularity. The senators are ranked on the percentage point change in their approval rating over the two-year period from the second quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2023.
Of the 40 U.S. senators on this list, 27 are Republican, 11 are Democrats, two are independents. Ten of the 40 are up for reelection in 2024, should they choose to run. Among them, approval ratings have slipped by anywhere from 1 percentage point in the last two years, to 8 percentage points.
Although every senator on this list is less popular with their constituents now than they were two years ago, many still maintain a large support base. Bernie Sanders, for example, an independent senator from Vermont, remains one of the most popular lawmakers in the chamber with a 63% approval rating – despite seeing an 8 point drop in popularity over the last two years.
Still, several senators on this list are now underwater in the polls, with their disapproval ratings outweighing their approval numbers. Notably, these senators include Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky – senators whose popularity dipped by 5 points and 2 points, respectively, since mid-2021.
McConnel, not popular among Democrats and independents to begin with, alienated members of his own party when he condemned Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Manchin, meanwhile, was scorned by Democratic voters for holding up elements of President Biden’s policy agenda. (These are the states where Biden policies could create the most jobs.)
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