Special Report

These 33 US Senators Are Becoming More Popular

Of all major government institutions, the U.S. Congress is the least trusted by the American people. A recent poll conducted by public opinion research company Morning Consult found that only 39% of adults in the U.S. have at least some trust in Congress, a smaller share than all five other public sector institutions covered in the survey, including the Supreme Court.

Overly negative views of the U.S. legislature should come as little surprise. One study published by the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University found that partisan conflict that results in legislative gridlock, particularly on consensus issues, does meaningful damage to public opinion of Congress. 

And partisanship on Capitol Hill has been getting worse for decades. According to analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center, the ideological divide between Democratic and Republican congressional representatives is wider today than at any other time in the last 50 years. This is especially pronounced in the U.S. Senate. (These are the most partisan issues in American politics, ranked.)

While partisanship in the U.S. Senate has undermined public confidence in the institution, many individual lawmakers have managed to improve their standing with voters in recent years, bucking the broader trend. 

Using survey data from Morning Consult, 24/7 Wall St. identified the sitting U.S. senators who are gaining popularity. 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. Only senators with approval ratings that gained at least 2 percentage points since mid-2021 were considered. 

Of the 33 U.S. senators on this list, 20 are Democratic, 12 are Republican, and one is an independent. Thirteen of the 33 are up for reelection in 2024, should they choose to run. Among them, approval ratings have climbed by anywhere from 2 percentage points to 15 percentage points in the last two years. 

Despite rising approval ratings, not all senators on this list are especially popular. For example, despite a positive 4 percentage point popularity swing in the last two years, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin remains underwater in the polls, with a disapproval rating that outweighs his approval numbers. (Here is a look at the most, and least, popular Republican senators.)

Still, most senators on this list are well regarded by their constituents – at least relative to many of their Senate colleagues. All but 10 of the 33 lawmakers whose popularity is rising fastest rank in the top 50% of all 100 sitting U.S. senators by approval rating – including seven of the 10 most popular senators.

Click here to see senators that are becoming more popular.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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