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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 14, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 15
Bernie Sanders is the most popular US senator, Mitch McConnell the least
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Bernie Sanders is the most popular US senator, Mitch McConnell the least

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Bernie Sanders is the most popular US senator and Republican leader Mitch McConnell is the least, according to a new poll released April 11.

The poll, conducted by the survey company Morning Consult, asked more than 85,000 registered voters to rate their own senators. Pollsters asked the questions weekly from January through March. Seventy-five percent of Sanders' constituents approved of his performance in office, the poll found, compared to 21% who disapproved.

At the other end of the scale, 44% of Kentuckians approve of McConnell's performance, compared to 47% who disapprove. McConnell is the only senator to earn a net negative rating from his constituents, Morning Consult found.

Sanders and McConnell retained their titles as most and least liked since the last time Morning Consult released poll results on US senators, in September 2016.

Washington's senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, did not make the top 10 in popularity, but nevertheless did quite well in the poll. Murray earned a 59% positive rating to 29% negative, while Cantwell came out with 56% positive to 27% negative.

Vermonters apparently love their senators. Number two in popularity was Sanders' Vermont colleague, Patrick Leahy. Leahy had a 70% approval rating, compared to 22% disapproval.

Kentuckians are far happier with junior senator Rand Paul than they are with McConnell. Paul shows a 53% positive rating, compared to 35% negative. In fact, Paul's approval rating rose five points over the last Morning Consult poll in September 2016.

The good news for McConnell is that his negatives are down since the poll in September. In that survey, 51% disliked McConnell, with only 39% approving his performance.

Sanders has gone in the opposite direction, with the defeat of his presidential campaign perhaps causing his constituents to view him more critically. In September 2016, Sanders' approval stood at 87% with only 12% disapproving.

Sanders is far from alone in losing support, however. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska saw the biggest drop in approval by her constituents. Her net approval plummeted 26 points, although 53% of Alaskans still approve of her job performance, compared with 40% who do not.

Senate delegations from smaller states tended to be more popular among their voters, with Wyoming and Vermont leading the way in terms of net approval. North Carolina, a perennial presidential battleground state, has the least popular delegation.

Thom Tillis of North Carolina holds the title for the least known senator. A whopping 30% of his constituents didn't even know who he was.

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