Our Kentucky poll this week continued to confirm that Jim Bunning is not getting any sort of post-retirement announcement bounce in his approval numbers. 30% of voters in the state approve of the job he's doing while 45% disapprove. His approval rating last April was 28%.
Of course Bunning has not exactly been going quietly during his final year in office, and he's not alone among retiring Senators who have numbers that aren't exactly anything to write home about.
Ohio's George Voinovich, though much less controversial than Bunning, has pretty similar poll numbers. 33% approve of him to 42% who disapprove. And the passage of time since the odd circumstances surrounding Roland Burris' appointment have done little to make Illinois voters feel more charitable toward him- he remains the least popular Senator with 54% disapproval to only 18% approval.
So what retiring Senators have kept up a decent level of popularity? Kit Bond at 44/35 in Missouri and Judd Gregg at 44/37 in New Hampshire. It seems safe to say either of them would have been a cinch for reelection if they'd given it another try, although it didn't necessarily look that way when they made their decisions to retire. At Gregg's decently young age you almost even wonder if Republicans will try to get him back in the game against Jeanne Shaheen in 2014.
Most voters in their states don't have an opinion of Ted Kaufman or George LeMieux, as appointed Senators, and we haven't polled on Evan Bayh, Chris Dodd, Sam Brownback, or Byron Dorgan.