Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sanders was most popular U.S. senator this year, polls find; see how your senators rate

Bernie Sanders, a Vermont socialist who was elected U.S. senator as an independent and is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, had the highest home-state approval rating of any senator this year, according to polls by Morning Consult.

The survey, which included 76,569 respondents in all 50 states from May to November, found that Sanders has an 83 percent approval rating, Reid Wilson reports for Morning Consult. The most popular Republican among constituents is Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who received a 78 percent approval rating. Overall, 69 of 100 senators "have approval ratings of 50 percent or higher," Wilson notes.

Senators from rural states seemed to do better. "Members from smaller states tend to have higher approval ratings: All 14 senators from states with just three electoral votes sport approval ratings north of 50 percent, and seven have approval ratings higher than 60 percent," Wilson writes. "On the other end of the spectrum, senators with the lowest approval ratings tend to be either members who have just won election, about whom voters have yet to form an opinion, or those facing political trouble ahead."

Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) tied for the lowest approval ratings, at 37 percent. Peters hasn't been in office long, and Menendez is under federal indictment for corruption charges. Surprisingly, longtime Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate majority leader, received an approval rating of 38 percent. McConnell was the only senator to receive a disapproval rating above 50 percent, with 52 percent of Kentuckians saying they disapprove of him, Wilson writes. Here's a list of how each senator ranked, in order of popularity; for a PDF of this chart, click here.

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