Monday, March 8, 2010

Senate Approval Ratings

The conventional wisdom has typically been that a politician's in trouble if their approval rating's below 50%. We may need to rethink that assumption in this political climate though because the average approval rating of the 38 Senators we've polled on in the last six months is 40%, with the average disapproval standing at 41%. 40 may be the new 50.

Here are some interesting facts on those approval numbers:

-We've only found 4 Senators over 50% since September- John Thune at 57%, Mark Warner at 53%, Lisa Murkowski at 52%, and Olympia Snowe at 51%.

-We've found 6 Senators with disapproval over 50%- Joe Lieberman at 67%, Blanche Lincoln at 62%, Roland Burris at 60%, Harry Reid at 58%, Chris Dodd at 57%, and Mark Begich at 51%.

-There are 8 Senators who 25% or more of their constituents have no opinion about- appointed Senator Ted Kaufman leads the 'no opinion' primary at 54%, followed by John Cornyn at 38%, Richard Burr at 30%, Kay Hagan at 29%, Jim Bunning at 27%, Jim DeMint at 27%, Johnny Isakson at 26%, and Roland Burris at 26%.

-There are 5 Senators who 90% or more of their constituents do have an opinion about- Harry Reid at 94%, John Thune at 92%, Joe Lieberman at 92%, Tim Johnson at 91%, and John McCain at 90%.

Here's the full list of folks we've polled on since September sorted by their approval ratings:


Approval Spread

John Thune (R-South Dakota)


Mark Warner (D-Virginia)


Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)


Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)


Susan Collins (R-Maine)


Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)


Tom Udall (D-New Mexico)


Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)


John McCain (R-Arizona)


Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)


Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota)


Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin)


Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin)


Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina)


Tom Carper (D-Delaware)


Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)


Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)


Jim Webb (D-Virginia)


Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri)


Kit Bond (R-Missouri)


Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)


Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia)


John Ensign (R-Nevada)


Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia)


Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey)


Harry Reid (D-Nevada)


Richard Burr (R-North Carolina)


Mark Begich (D-Alaska)


Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey)


John Cornyn (R-Texas)


Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina)


Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky)


Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas)


Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut)


Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas)


Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut)


Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware)


Roland Burris (D-Illinois)



Christian Liberty said...

The 4 Senators with approvals with approvals over 50% are 3 Republicans and one moderate freshman Democrat who was previously a governor. No progressive Democrat makes the list. No Democrat who has served a full term in the senate makes the list. No Democrat who has won an election on his record as an incumbent senator makes the list.

6 Senators with disapproval over 50% are all Democrats (or a former Democrat). No Republican has such disapproval, even after being blamed for "obstruction" and smeared as "the party of NO". Further proof that such Democrat talking points are falling on deaf ears... if not actually backfiring by pointing out that Americans can thank Republicans for not supporting the Democrats' unpopular agenda.

Al Brewer said...

Relatively small, homogeneous electorates like those in Maine, the Dakotas, Arizona, Alaska or long political careers also translate into popularity. Of course, Snowe had a re-election scare while still in the House, but now garners upwards of 75% of the vote in Maine. What about Pat Leahy in VT? I'm guessing he is pretty popular? But 40 could well be the new 50 ...

Christian Liberty said...

Al, "long political careers" do NOT "translate into popularity" for Democratic leaders Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, or Charles Schumer (only 47% approval on Marist poll). Nor for powerful Democratic committee chairs like Chris Dodd, nor longtime Democratic veterans like Frank Lautenberg. Nor does a "small, homogeneous electorate" like Alaska approve of Democrat Mark Begich.

And seeing as how left-leaning Massachusetts elected a senator who specifically promised to filibuster the Democrats' healthScare bill, Leahy would likely be vulnerable. Americans of any state are more likely to elect a Republican who opposes Obamacare than a Democrat who rammed through the unpopular left-wing agenda. Leahy must either turn against Obamacare and demand that the bill be DROPPED in favor of a focus on job-creation... or Leahy will have A LOT of explaining to do back home.

Unknown said...

Not a lot of surprises here. Burr would be in trouble in a normal year and Isaakson would draw a credible opponent. The New Jersey senators are a little surprising but I assume this poll was done in the lead up to the 2009 election. Once Jon Corzine's name was mentioned in your survey any Democrat would get approval ratings just below Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

There's been a lot of discussion elsewhere whether an approval rating below 50 can get back above. It's the disapproval rating that is glaring for Lincoln and Reid. Once you've made that commitment I doubt there's any going back.

Al Brewer said...

Ummm ... Chris ... times change (part of the topic here) and a lot of factors go into any politician's popularity ... longevity is, indeed, one. But check out Senate careers in small states. Not a lot of turnover, my friend.

Misadult said...

Nor for powerful Democratic committee chairs like Chris Dodd, nor longtime Democratic veterans like Frank Lautenberg. Nor does a "small, homogeneous electorate" like Alaska approve of Democrat Mark Begich.

Philip Letsou said...

Thanks "Christian Liberty", cool name choice Jerry Falwell.

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