One of the things about our New Mexico poll that I found most interesting was Tom Udall's solid 48/36 approval spread. That puts him with Mark Warner (53/31 in our last poll) and Jeanne Shaheen (48/39 favorability in the last UNH poll) as the freshmen Democratic Senators with the best numbers. What do the three have in common? They all had statewide elected experience before winning their Senate seats.
For most of the Senators who didn't- Kay Hagan, Jeff Merkley, Mark Begich, and Mark Udall- the numbers are a lot less pretty. Last month we found Begich at a 35/51 approval spread and Hagan at 29/42. Our most recent poll on Udall's approval, late last summer, found him at 39/38. Survey USA had Merkley at 37/49 this month.
Not really falling into either category is Al Franken- he has unusually high positives and unusually high negatives for a freshman Senator at 50/47 in Rasmussen's last Minnesota poll. That probably reflects his celebrity status.
The new Senators who voters have known for a long time seem to be weathering this political climate but the relatively unknown ones who rode the wave in are being defined right now more by the unpopularity of their party than anything else. Of course the good news for them is that they have a long time to fix it.